There is a notable refrain already surfacing when it comes to questions about when the Justin Fields era will officially begin.
Follow the yellow-brick road:
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) May 2, 2021
#Bears QB coach John DeFilippo on when Justin Fields will start: "Like [Nagy] said, I think we’ll all know when it’s Justin’s time. I’m a big believer in that as well."
Flip later added that they'll learn a lot more about Justin this weekend at rookie minicamp.
— Sean Hammond (@sean_hammond) May 12, 2021
Matt Nagy on Justin Fields: "Once we know where his base foundation is, we can start to build off that. Then it's going to be about how fast he can learn. What kind of plays & mistakes is he making in practice? It just ultimately goes back to we'll all see it & we'll know it."
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) May 14, 2021
OK, cool. But what does “we’ll know it when we see it” even mean?
Well, we started to get something that resembles an answer from Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy this morning.
While appearing on the Mully and Haugh Show on 670 The Score, Nagy was asked what it would look like to him when it’s time for Fields to play. Because, yeah, “we’ll know it when we see it” can go only so far. This was Nagy’s response:
“I would say it’s more of what’s happening on the field. There’s a lot of players who can get it right in the classroom, and then the second you get down on the field and things are down there on field level, it changes. Plays gotta be made. We’ve got to be able to see the execution from all three of these quarterbacks on the field. … You just know. You see it, you feel it, and whoever makes the Bears team because of what you do at your position, that’s what we’re going to go with.”
This isn’t a concrete answer, but it’s worth jotting down that what happens on the field will determine who will be QB1. That’s the big takeaway with Nagy’s statement. What the quarterbacks show will tell us everything we need to know about who deserves to start. And isn’t that how it’s supposed to be done?
Declarations can be made in May without much harm being done either way. But until we see Fields on the turf, no one will have a real feeling for what should happen. And I suppose that can apply to Andy Dalton and Nick Foles. Because if the vets can pick it up in the classroom, but can’t apply it on the field — but Fields can — then that’s when things can become spicy.