Eight different quarterbacks have started games under GM Ryan Pace’s watch since 2015.
Things are currently lining up for Andy Dalton to become the ninth.
If it happens, he’ll join the esteemed company of Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Jay Cutler, Chase Daniel, Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, and Jimmy Clausen. A real murderer’s row, it ain’t. So there’s a real chance that Dalton can out-class ’em all. That’s how low the bar is, people.
“They told me I was the starter.”
Naturally, Dalton receiving assurances that he would arrive as the starter ultimately helped push this deal to the finish line. At minimum, it’s what nudged Dalton toward the Bears in the first place. Dalton was a starter his entire career in Cincinnati until the team turned on tank mode in 2019. And after a brief pit-stop in Dallas, it’s only normal for him to want to resume as a starting quarterback in the league. I don’t think anyone is OK just hanging around as a backup.
But I can’t front. Watching and listening to that press conference gave me Mike Glennon flashbacks.
If you’ll recall, Glennon was given similar assurances that he would be Chicago’s QB1. He was even the star of the show at the Bears’ 2017 NFL Draft party. And then the trade-up and Mitchell Trubisky pick happened. Glennon said all the right things. He even boasted that 2017 was gonna be his year. And it was … until it was so painfully obvious that it wasn’t, that Trubisky had to be thrust into the lineup before expected.
There’s a real chance history repeats itself in 2021.
Reunited and it feels so good…
Last year, the Matt Nagy-Nick Foles reunion was the talk of the Bears-centric football world. A year later, it’s the bringing together (again) of Dalton with Bill Lazor.
“Bill and I had a great relationship. I really enjoyed my time working with him,” Dalton said. “It wasn’t just him as a coach, but him as a person. … I’m excited to get back working with him.”
Now the Bears’ offensive coordinator, Lazor served in that role (and as Dalton’s position coach) while in Cincinnati from 2016-18. There was a time in which I wondered if hiring Lazor had anything to do with Dalton’s pending availability. And even though the Bears were in the mix, they didn’t land Dalton in 2020.
But here we are, a year later, and Dalton is looking forward to chopping it up with an old friend.
So … why the Bears?
One thing that always intrigues me about when a player joins a new team is what brought them in the first place. Obviously, money plays a role. As does the assurance of a starting job. Even having prior relationships with coaches helps move the needle. Having addressed those aspects above, I found myself interested in how Dalton shared how he perceived the Bears from the outside.
Dalton said these Bears were a “a great mix of veteran leadership and a lot of young talent.” He also added: “At this point in my career, you want to join a team that is competitive and trending in the right direction.”
I’m sure part of those statements is rooted in saying the right thing to win the press conference. But at age 33, I’m sure there is a part of Dalton that saw how the Bears made the postseason twice in three years with sub-par quarterback play and thought to himself, I could do better and lift this team to greater heights. All quarterbacks worth their salt believe that they have the ability to raise all ships. Dalton might need that bravado knowing the daunting schedule that lies ahead.
The Russell Wilson Factor
Chicago’s pursuit of Russell Wilson was football’s worst-kept secret. So it had to be awkward for Dalton to face questions knowing he was Plan B. But Dalton took it in stride:
Andy Dalton said he was aware of the #Bears trying to land Russell Wilson. Seems to know the mood of the city as a result.
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) March 18, 2021
Andy Dalton asked if he'd heard some of the negative reaction in regards to his signing: "I know there's a been a lot of talk. Hopefully everybody gets to see who I am as a player and a person. I'm not worried about any of that."
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) March 18, 2021
Odds and Ends
Andy Dalton on Nick Foles:
“I’ve known Nick for a while. Texas guy … I’ve talked to Nick, I think it’s gonna be a great working relationship. I’m excited to actually get to be on the same team with him, and get a chance to play with him.” #Bears
— StaceyDales (@StaceyDales) March 18, 2021
I’m not wholly convinced Dalton and Nick Foles will be sharing a locker room. To be sure, I’ve been surprised before. And I should know better than to put anything past this organization. But there is a redundancy with Dalton and Foles. With rumors circling about the Bears looking at other quarterbacks on the market, even after signing Dalton, I have my doubts Foles is in the team’s plans for 2021.
.@andydalton14: "I’ve talked to a lot of guys on the team. It’s been awesome to join a new team and have so many guys reach out and welcome me to the team. I think that just shows the culture and the good group we have here."@Hyundai | #DaBears
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 18, 2021
When asked, Dalton did mention that he hadn’t spoken to Allen Robinson yet. But to be fair, that feels commonplace around Halas Hall. Maybe if someone reached out, then perhaps an agreement can be made on an extension? Just a thought…
Andy Dalton on the Bears: "I'd love for this to be the last place I play. I'd love to finish my career here."
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) March 18, 2021
I wish Dalton would’ve been more specific with what he said, as Chicago is a place where quarterback careers finish.
For Dalton’s entire press conference, check out the video below: