Let’s tell a story with two tweets.
Tweet No. 1:
Bears coach Matt Nagy indicates that QB Justin Fields will get more time with WR Allen Robinson and other starters and also against the No. 1 defense. He called it part of the “evaluation process” and part of their plan.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) August 16, 2021
Admit it. You’re a little fired up seeing Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy’s openness in wanting to get Justin Fields first-team reps. Not just with Allen Robinson II and the rest of the pass-catchers. But also, more snaps against that menacing first-team defense. Steel sharpens steel and all that jazz.
With that being said, here is tweet No. 2:
The plan is still for Andy Dalton to be the Week 1 starter, Matt Nagy said. Justin Fields is the 2.
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) August 16, 2021
Ah, yes. The tweet that represents the other shoe dropping. One that is as comforting as a wet blanket.
So, while Justin Fields will get first-team reps, Andy Dalton remains the starting quarterback. Not just for this upcoming preseason game against the Bills. But also, Dalton is still on track to start in Week 1 against the Rams. Nevertheless, the most intriguing thing to come from all this is that things are changing (despite things staying the same) in terms of practice reps. This isn’t inconsequential.
There simply aren’t enough preseason game snaps to get both Dalton and Fields reps with the first-team offense. So, in dealing with that problem, Nagy will begin squeezing in some first-team offense reps for Fields throughout the practice week. This is a positive development. Eventually, this will be Fields’ team. There is no escaping the inevitable, so you might as well get it going in a low-pressure practice setting.
Now, if you have been at a Halas Hall practice, then you have likely seen Fields throw to Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Jimmy Graham, and other first-teamers during drills. And you might be wondering what is the difference. In short, getting practice reps is another level above getting work in during drills. For instance, first-team practice reps come with the responsibility of relaying the play call, making it in the huddle, adjusting at the line, and all those other things that simulate game action. In essence, going from drills to practice reps is a step up in weight class for Fields. And I can’t wait to see how he responds to this challenge.