Much like seeing someone put on a green jacket in Augusta in early April, Bears quarterbacks speaking on Wednesdays is a tradition unlike any other.
But this year is different.
Not only does Chicago’s football team have a new quarterback under center, they have another new guy waiting in the wings. And as much as I’d love to dive into Justin Fields right now, we’re working within the reality of Andy Dalton being QB1 at this particular moment. For whatever it’s worth, I still have no qualms in letting Dalton start Week 1. Coaches and players alike have discussed the value and importance of learning from the sidelines. So while there is truth to the other side of the argument, which declares the best way is to learn is by playing immediately, because there is no one sure-fire way to develop a QB, I’m OK with Dalton starting until he proves no longer to be capable of handling those duties.
With that being said, I don’t envy Dalton one bit. Being the known placeholder for a future franchise QB type of player isn’t an enviable position. Especially not when you are a player with Dalton’s experience, credentials, and desire to extend your playing career. To that end, I’ll credit Dalton for saying the right things at every turn to this point. We’ve grabbed some highlights of his latest from his first game-week press conference of the year. Will it be his last? We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. But in the meantime, enjoy the moment.
Self-Awareness is King
Dalton knows he isn’t the long-term answer in Chicago. But he also realizes this is an opportunity to showcase himself for one of the 31 other teams in the league. And with that opportunity in front of him, Dalton knows the worst thing he can do and how to avoid that.
“That’s the worst thing you can do is look over your shoulder,” Dalton said. “Understanding that is key.”
That’s deep, in terms of football quotes is concerned. Dalton’s got some wise Master Jedi in him. And I can respect that about the 33-year-old QB.
One of the most important things on which Dalton has a grasp (which I don’t think Mike Glennon had a feel for in 2017), is knowing his place in the grand scheme of things. Say what you want about Dalton — and I’ve read your comments, so I know y’all have thoughts — but a player with that much experience under his belt knows what’s going on in Chicago. Self-awareness is king.
Always Remember, Your Focus Determines Your Reality
No, I’m not going to load this post with Star Wars references. But I can’t help it if Dalton continues to drop gems that would make Ben Kenobi blush. Or, in the case of this particular quote, make Qui-Gon Jinn proud:
“Tuning out the stuff you don’t need to focus on, and knowing where you need to put your time and effort, I think that’s just where I’m at. Don’t worry about all the other stuff.”
Say what you want about The Phantom Menace, but Qui-Gon Jinn was a character who was always making good points. And had the Jedi Council treated him with more respect, that whole Anakin turning to the Dark Side of the Force thing could’ve been avoided in its entirety. Anyway, the concept of your focus determines your reality isn’t exclusive to a galaxy far, far away. There is real truth in that idea. And for what it’s worth, Dalton nails it.
Dalton can’t concern himself with Justin Fields waiting his turn behind him on the depth chart. As far as I’m concerned, the worst thing you can do is worry about things that are out of your control. Dalton admits as much when he says turning off stuff you don’t need to worry about to focus on putting in work (a.k.a. stuff you *CAN* control) is what is most important. Everything will take care of itself, so long as you handle your own business.
Embrace the Moment
Have you ever stopped to think about what has happened for us to get to this point? I think Dalton has after hearing him say: “A lot has gone on since March. All that has led to this point right here. Regardless of everything that’s gone on, we’re here. Week 1. And this is exactly what I wanted. This opportunity. And now, I’m looking forward to making the most of it.”
Think about it. The Bears had to fail in their pursuit of Russell Wilson, which Dalton himself said he was cognizant of when signing, and watch other quarterbacks go off the board in free agency just for him to get here. So with that perspective in his pocket, I think it’s awesome that Dalton’s mindset is all about making the most of this moment. It’s a good mental space to be in for anyone, not just QB1.
For Dalton’s entire press conference, check out the video below: