I understand, and have accepted, that Matt Nagy is extremely into gamesmanship. Whether it helps or not – or even matters at all – he’s going to be over-the-top guarded about sharing any information that an opponent could use. Whatever. It’s the reality of the situation, so you’re not going to get super clear information about Andy Dalton and Justin Fields right now.
That said, there was some next-level stuff today during and after his presser when asked about the quarterback situation. What should’ve been a relatively simple answer turned into a weird back-and-forth, and then an even weirder post-presser clarification from the team:
Here is exchange from minutes ago when Nagy was asked if Dalton is healthy, is he the starting QB
MN: “If Andy is healthy, is he your starter? That’s something that I’m not going to get into with scheme.”
Reporter “That’s not scheme”
MN: “Of course it is, that’s 100% scheme.”
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) September 20, 2021
Two days in a row, Matt Nagy said that he wouldn’t get into whether Andy Dalton was his starter if healthy.
Now, after those two press conferences, Nagy sent a #Bears official in to tell us that he meant to say Dalton IS the quarterback if he’s healthy.
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) September 20, 2021
Color me highly skeptical of that later clarification and congratulations to Chicago sports talk radio for this gift on what should have been a mostly positive Victory Monday.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) September 20, 2021
This seems needlessly weird, but I think we nevertheless know the situation. Dalton, even if his ACL is fine, is probably going to miss some time. That means Fields would start this weekend, after which time it would be pretty tricky to go back to Dalton absent a Fields injury or other disaster. So the torch may have already been passed, whether Nagy will acknowledge it or not. And sending out the PR team to confirm that Dalton is the starter “if healthy” doesn’t really mean much, since we already know that Dalton very likely isn’t healthy.
Again, I get the probable thinking – you’d prefer the Browns have to try to prepare this week for the possibility of Dalton AND the possibility of Fields. But we’re gonna know pretty soon whether Dalton is out anyway, so why not just answer the initial questions with a clear, “Yeah, Andy is the starter when he’s healthy because that’s a decision we made a long time ago,” or whatever? That doesn’t really provide the Browns anything to work with, but it at least avoids the weirdness.
We’ll find out soon enough whether Fields will make his first NFL start this weekend. It seems likely.