Few things clarify a mind like an afternoon nap in a hammock.
• Justin Fields makes his first regular-season NFL start in a few hours. A new era is set to begin. The time is now to be as excited as ever. As Bears fans, we’ve been waiting for this for some time. Sure, some have been waiting longer than others. But that doesn’t matter. The time has come for all parties to have a clean slate. What will it look like? Let’s be honest — no one really knows. But that’s what makes us tune in every week. We turn it on to see the best reality show on television.
• But also … be patient. Neither Rome, nor Halas Hall, was built in a week.
• And while we’ll be fixated on that moment, the Andy Dalton thing lingers. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler was reporting on Saturday how there is a belief from the Bears that Dalton’s knee injury figures to be a short one and that a potential return in Week 4 “is not off the table.” HOWEVA … a day later, Fowler’s ESPN teammate Adam Schefter hears that Dalton’s knee injury could keep him out longer than expected. Like Fowler, Schefter shares how the organization hopes Dalton gets healthy quickly. But Schefter’s mentioning that an additional week or two being something possibly on the table is something we need to keep tabs on as this situation develops. I doubt the Bears want to push the issue with an injured QB. But if Fields plays as well as folks believe, then it might not matter.
• How Fields navigates new waters as a starter is at the top of everyone’s watch list:
🧵 5 things I'm watching today. 🧵
1) How clean the @Bears operation is—staff has drilled Justin Fields on getting calls out, adjustments, etc. If he wins the job anytime soon, gotta start there.
2) 2-0 Cards, Raiders, Broncos have winnable games. How are they handling success?
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 26, 2021
• Quarterback development guru Quincy Avery says something (via NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport) about Fields makes me perk up: “I think mentally, Justin is as ready as any rookie can be. He’s got a really good grasp of the offense and he can process as well as anyone. Really excited about him as a starting QB.”
• Reading this got me back to Nagy saying “we’ll know it when we see it” when answering a question about when Fields will start:
“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.”
• Putting Fields in a place where he’d be starting in case of a Dalton injury means the rookie has gotten enough right on the classroom and has shown he can do it on the practice Field. Next step? Doing it in a regular-season game, and then stacking those up.
• As a reminder, this is what Justin Fields brings to the table:
• Few things help a rookie quarterback like a strong running game. And David Montgomery is a nice tag-team partner to have for Fields in the backfield:
• No Eddie Goldman for a third consecutive week. And it doesn’t sound like things are hunky dory at Halas Hall:
Matt Nagy has talked about Eddie Goldman rockin' & rollin' since training camp opened. It's worth wondering if the #Bears nose tackle, who is questionable for Sunday's game, is possibly marching to the beat of a different drummer these days.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) September 24, 2021
• I imagine the Bears are growing frustrated with this situation. And for what it’s worth, there’s no one thing to latch on to cast blame. Goldman wasn’t alone in opting out due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year. No one could have seen a positive test for COVID-19 would sideline Goldman in August. Or that a tweaked knee would be problematic to start the regular season. Save for Goldman skipping out on mandatory camp in June, so many of these issues haven’t been in his control. Ultimately, the optics aren’t great for Goldman. Here’s hoping he can play his way out of any doghouse, because it sounds like there could be some growing tensions.
• Elsewhere on the defense:
Bears OLB Robert Quinn was NOT fined for his hit out of bounds on Bengals QB Joe Burrow, per source.
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) September 25, 2021
• These aren’t bad:
The Browns will be wearing their 75th anniversary uniforms today against the Bears. And they are tremendous. pic.twitter.com/HtpmJARwas
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 26, 2021
• I’m mildly intrigued by whatever the Sunday Ticket package looks like moving forward:
New Sunday Ticket package could actually include the ability to buy just one team's out-of-market games — a development that is only about 27 years too late. https://t.co/jV8O69SMeF
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 24, 2021
• The Blackhawks are gearing up:
Sights and Sounds: Day Three of Blackhawks Training Camp https://t.co/g7nZp9F9BW
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) September 25, 2021
• The Bulls’ injury situation will test the team’s depth early:
What if Williams Misses a Few Games? Wiggins Denied, MJ and Curry, and Other Bulls Bulletshttps://t.co/uJ5d8LGGBn
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) September 25, 2021