Matt Nagy says there is no possible scenario Justin Fields starts in Week 1.
Well, at least if all things are equal and Andy Dalton remains healthy. And because we would never root for an injury to push things into motion, we’ll leave it at that. And for what it’s worth, I’m on board with a plan in which the Bears slow-play the Fields experience out of the gate. Tying it all together, Nagy has also said there isn’t anything Fields can do to win a starting job in camp. Fair enough.
Nevertheless, The MMQB’s Albert Breer believes the preseason can provide an opportunity to – at minimum – change how the QB1 discussion goes this summer:
But if there is a sliver of an opening here, my belief is it’ll come with the preseason games. The Bears plan to play Fields a lot in those, and that’s smart—because it’ll accelerate his development via the amount of defense he’ll get to see, and offense he’ll get to run. And if he grows with that? And practices well on top of that? Then, maybe, we’re having a different discussion a month from now.
Back in June, Breer was reporting that Nagy’s plan was to give Fields “a lot of work” in the preseason. A month later, Breer is speculating that a strong preseason performance could change the discussion surrounding the Fields plan. That’s interesting, to say the least.
As of now, the plan is to let Andy Dalton cook. Let Dalton begin the season as QB1, then let whatever happen after that occur in due time. But in a way, Breer’s framing of this situation is one in which the team rides it out with Dalton as the starter until he proves no longer to be capable of those duties.
In the end, it all rides on Dalton’s shoulders. He is the starter, after all. And after signing a one-year free agent contract, Dalton will get every opportunity to retain his starting role. But if strong performances in training camp and in the preseason presents a path toward accelerated growth for Fields, then Dalton better watch his back. Because there appears to be a path for Fields to start sooner rather than later. But only if Fields’ arrow is pointing up and Dalton starts trending the opposite direction.
So, stay tuned. This summer could reveal what autumn has in store for us.