The Chicago Bears have remained adamant since April that Andy Dalton is going to be their starting quarterback come September. That is the plan. He’ll start this season while Justin Fields will take the opportunity to learn on the sideline. That is how Matt Nagy saw it done in Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes. So it makes perfect sense to him that it cane work in Chicago. There is just one problem with that plan.

Dalton has to cooperate by performing well this summer. If the latest OTA practice attended by the media is any indication? He isn’t holding up his end of the bargain. The 33-year old had a rough outing with three interceptions throw in 7-on-7 drills. What makes it even worse? Most of the starting Bears defense still wasn’t attending. Only Roquan Smith and Tashaun Gipson were present. Not a great look.

On the flip side, Fields look quite sharp outside of snap exchange issues.

Now obviously it’s way too early to make assumptions about the nature of this quarterback situation. Players are allowed to have poor practices this time of year. Dalton is still learning the intricacies of the Bears’ offense. A complicated one in every sense of the word. Still, he can’t afford too many days like this. Not when the rookie 1st round pick keeps making nice throws at the same time.

If this trend continues into training camp, it may force Nagy to rethink his approach. While he may want to use the same formula that worked in Kansas City, the reality is it’s his responsibility to put the best players on the field. If it is obvious Fields is playing better than Dalton in almost every practice? Then the rookie should be the starter.

Andy Dalton margin of error is deceptively thin

The Bears have done nothing to indicate their stance has changed. Rest assured that won’t happen for months to come. Nagy is notorious for keeping things in-house on such plans. He will almost certainly keep the quarterback decision quiet until the regular season is imminent. That said, the undercurrent is impossible to ignore. Despite the public statements, there is a belief the team is leaving the window open for Fields to take the job.

Andy Dalton was promised the job, but promises can only be kept if the player himself justifies it. Asking the Bears to keep their word when he isn’t performing well in practice isn’t entirely fair. This is a competition at the end of the day. If you can’t do the job, the team will find somebody who can.

Dalton knows that.

It wouldn’t be shocking to see him rebound in the practices to come. He’s experienced down cycles before and bounced back. There is a ton of experience for him to lean back on. Better days should be ahead. He just needs to tread carefully. Fields isn’t likely to let him get comfortable. The rookie made it clear he is gunning for that starting job. Dalton will have to stop him.