Chicago Bears fans knew what was coming on Sunday night in Los Angeles because they’ve seen it so many times before. Their team trotting an average quarterback onto the field against a talented, well-coached defense and expecting positive results. Andy Dalton instead gave them 206 yards, a fumble, and an interception. It is hardly shocking that cries for Justin Fields were quite audible both in the stadium and on social media. So where does the team stand on this issue? Jay Glazer of Fox Sports had some interesting comments.
In a Q&A session, he spoke on the subject. From what he understands, the Bears are doing everything they can to buy the rookie more time. At least through the first quarter of the season. Part of why are concerns over his readiness. After watching other rookies like Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence on Sunday? One can understand. Still, Glazer seemed to indicate the door remains open for Fields to start eventually. Just not for the first few games.
The goal was pretty clear from the start.
Have Andy Dalton play and hopefully keep the offense decent for as long as possible. Give Fields time to learn the offense and witness the speed of the NFL from the safety of the sideline. Head coach Matt Nagy wanted to follow the model Kansas City used with Patrick Mahomes. The problem is he doesn’t have the resources or the credibility Andy Reid did with the Chiefs. He doesn’t have that team’s offensive line or weapons. Dalton is also not nearly the game manager Alex Smith was.
It was clear to a lot of people that Fields was the better quarterback most of the summer. Both in training camp and especially the preseason. Experience is fine, but in the NFL it’s talent that most often wins football games.
Jay Glazer offers glimmer of hope that the Fields wait won’t last
Much of this depends on how Dalton responds over the next couple of weeks. His job doesn’t get much easier. Cincinnati is next and their defense looks improved from last season. Then it’s on to Cleveland where they boast one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. Given the state of the Bears offensive line now down their top two left tackles? The veteran QB may not be able to do much.
This might explain why Jay Glazer seemed to leave the door open on the idea of Fields seeing action at some point after Week 4. Remember that the Bears face a brutal slate of games that include Green Bay, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh before their bye week. If the Bears are floundering with Dalton before that point? Then it’s almost a foregone conclusion that stretch will deliver the kill shot.
Nagy might face a locker room mutiny if he’s not careful.
Some players have quietly voiced their excitement about Fields. David Montgomery even spoke to the media about it. A lot of veterans on this team are trying to win. If they sense Dalton isn’t cutting it and that the head coach is sticking with him anyway because of some long-term plan? That could lead to a lot of friction. This could be why Fields sees action sooner than some think.