Justin Fields opened eyes across the NFL on Sunday, when he collected his first win as a starting quarterback against the Detroit Lions. The offense looked completely different, and, while some of that was because it was the Lions and some of it was because Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor was calling plays, a lot of it was because Fields is special.
But the Bears rookie QB might not even get a chance to make it two-in-a-row in Las Vegas – at least, not if Head Coach Matt Nagy has his way:
Matt Nagy said the Bears intend to start Andy Dalton on Sunday if he's deemed healthy, and Justin Fields would return to his role as the backup.
The Bears hope to have a greater grasp of where Dalton's knee injury is by Wednesday, Nagy said.
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) October 4, 2021
Nagy told reporters he intends to give Andy Dalton the starting role back for the team’s Week 5 game against the Raiders, so long as Dalton is healthy enough to play.
Dalton has been inactive each of the last two weeks after suffering a knee injury in the Bears’ Week 2 win against the Bengals. The injury wasn’t serious enough to put Dalton on the short-term IR, but it kept him out of one week of practice, limited the next, and out of game action each of the last two weeks. Starting an unhealthy player doesn’t make sense in any place. But it is certainly even more senseless if the Bears do so after watching Fields’ performance on Sunday. Why not continue on this development path until you know Dalton is fully healthy? Or, you know, long after that?
It’s getting ridiculous for no reason as this goes on. Nagy seems needlessly stuck to a plan formulated months and months ago.
Fields needs the first team reps in practice each week, and the offense should continue being molded around his skills and needs. Oh, and that’s not to mention that rushing Dalton back into the lineup could make the injury worse.
With that in mind, we’ll keep our eyes on what happens during Wednesday’s practice. If the injury report pops up and Dalton can’t give it a go or is limited, Nagy might opt for the “healthier” player. And if it goes the other way, well, then some more of those “tough conversations” need to be had at Halas Hall.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.