As the Chicago Bears offseason rolls on, so does the quarterback dilemma.
When the Bears moved up and drafted Justin Fields no. 11 in the 2021 NFL Draft, plenty wanted to immediately crown him the Bears’ starting quarterback. However, that’s not been the case.
Since draft weekend, head coach Matt Nagy has been very firm on his stance regarding Andy Dalton being the Bears’ Week 1 starting quarterback. In just about every appearance he’s made with the media, Nagy has been asked that question and he continues to tell us all to trust his plan.
That plan, of course, is to roll Dalton out there in a Week 1 prime time game versus the Los Angeles Rams. However, one particular Bears legend thinks Nagy should let the rookie play from the start.
Spoke to Mike Ditka today on Justin Fields and whether he should be the #Bears Week 1 starter.
“Put him on the field and let him learn. You learn by playing, you don’t learn by watching.”
“Matt Nagy knows how to handle Fields and he’ll do a good job with him.” pic.twitter.com/u2uPZpSxDv
— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) June 28, 2021
Chicago Bears legend Mike Ditka could not be more correct on his take regarding Justin Fields.
While the thought of allowing Dalton to begin the season as the team’s starter makes sense by some accounts, Ditka’s opinion is extremely valid. Fields is not your typical rookie quarterback.
Although he was drafted after a guy like Trey Lance and a few picks before Mac Jones, Fields is nothing like those two. He has the big game experience and comes into the league as a long-time starter in college. Fields is NFL-ready, and Ditka knows that.
Not even Patrick Mahomes had as many collegiate starts as Fields, nor did he come in with as much NFL-ready traits.
The scenario where Dalton does indeed start Week 1 means a few things, but most importantly, it means that he’ll likely get a few games into the season before being replaced. Nagy might see Dalton get roughed up by a great Rams defense to kick off the season and choose to roll with him in Week 2, giving him another shot.
It probably won’t be until Week 3 or Week 4 before Fields gets his chance to get in on the action. Will the Bears have won a game by then? Hopefully they can take care of the Bengals, at the very least. It would be ideal for Fields not to come in with his team winless.
One thing is for sure. Opinions certainly vary on this topic, especially when it comes to big name former Bears. Jay Cutler told ESPN 1000 back in May that he “wouldn’t play the kid” to begin with. Cutler’s advice has been pretty constant when asked about Fields: be patient.
Whether or not he starts Week 1 seems to be a losing argument at this point, because Nagy has his mind made up. However, let’s wait until training camp comes around. Maybe Fields does a little more convincing come July and August.