“No. Andy is our starter,” Nagy said. “Again, I can’t predict anything. You know how it goes. There are so many things that can happen between today and that Week 1, but Andy is our starter and Justin’s our No. 2. And we’re going to stick to this plan.”
Dalton’s statistics show a better outing than he had. He completed 11/17 passes for 146 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He was sacked twice and came out with an 86.9 passer rating. On the other hand, he had plenty of three-and-outs, and could hardly get the offense to move.
Following a plethora of unwanted “We want Fields” chants, the rookie standout took the field in the third quarter. He completed 9/19 passes for 80 yards without a touchdown nor interception. He also scrambled four times for 46 yards.
All around, the team looked rough. The offense failed to get anything going despite an emotional 73-yard touchdown from Rodney Adams, who just came from the hospital after his daughter’s birth the night prior. Khalil Herbert also shuffled his way into the endzone for a 13-yard touchdown.
The bottom line is this — Nagy is sticking to his plan to keep Dalton as the starter. There are a few things to think about after soaking this information in.
#1: Don’t send Justin Fields out to the wolves
Good preseason or bad preseason, Fields should NOT start in week one.
I hear ya, Fields looks leaps and bounds better than Dalton. He’s more accurate downfield, plays at a quicker pace, and most importantly, he can scramble out of the pocket with ease and run the ball downfield.
The ladder is most important given the offensive line is doing their best impression of the ending to The Departed, with Cody Whitehair playing Mark Wahlberg.
My point is that Fields should not start against the Los Angeles Rams. They have one of the best, if not the best, defenses in the league, and the offense itself is not ready for it.
If the offensive line was healthy and Fields looked like the next Tom Brady in preseason games, I would say give him a shot. But, there’s no need to rush him into what will be a lucrative career in the NFL.
#2: Fields might start against the Titans in Week 3 of the preseason
While Fields’s stats last game did him no justice in showing how well he can play on the professional level, he has proven that he can hold his own and more in NFL action.
The biggest thing for Fields is that his awareness and agility to get out of the pocket are on point, which is monumental considering the offensive line is banged up.
Seeing as that Fields is becoming so accustomed to playing with the big boys, the Bears might want to see a little more out of him in week three of the preseason.
If Fields has any chance of playing early on next season, the Bears are going to need a glimpse of what that will look like before the regular season. That would mean playing him more against the Titans and maybe even starting the game.
#3: Don’t forget what happened last season
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the start of the 8-8 season the Bears put on last year.
Mitch Trubisky won the first two games for the Bears against the Lions and the Giants. Then, after going down in the game against the Falcons in week three, the Bears pulled the plug and substituted Trubisky for Nick Foles.
Foles then played the next seven weeks before the Bears re-replaced Foles back for Trubisky against the Green Bay Packers in week 12.
My point in bringing this up is that the Bears had a very short leash on Trubisky. Even after having a 2-1 unofficial record as the starter to begin the season, Nagy decided they wanted to try out Foles.
It’s unimaginable how short of a leash Dalton will have to start the year knowing that Fields is primed and ready to give the Bears a shot at making the playoffs.
Keep an eye out, Chicago. Dalton today, Fields tomorrow.