While Chicago celebrates starting gig, Bears QB Justin Fields ‘ready to work’Patrick Finleyon October 6, 2021 at 7:59 pm

The Bears named Justin Fields their starting quarterback on Wednesday. | Nam Y. Huh, AP Photos

“I’m trying to win this weekend,” Fields said Wednesday. “Of course there’s some reason to celebrate, but I’m not just going to be complacent with where I’m at.”

After Bears coach Matt Nagy met with Justin Fields to tell him he’d be the permanent starter Tuesday afternoon, the rookie quarterback drove home from Halas Hall to fill in his parents, who are staying with him.

They wanted to go to dinner to celebrate. Fields didn’t.

Fields’ parents eventually decided to go out, anyway. The quarterback stayed home alone with his French bulldog, Uno, and watched Raiders film.

“I’m trying to win this weekend,” Fields said Wednesday. “Of course there’s some reason to celebrate, but I’m not just going to be complacent with where I’m at.”

As responses go, Fields’ reaction feels strangely appropriate.

When the rest of Chicago found out Wednesday that Fields will start the rest of the season, they reacted the same way Fields’ parents did — by celebrating. Rather than get enveloped by the hype, though, Fields chose to focus on the work.

Yes, Fields said Wednesday, it was his goal to become the full-time starter this season. He was surprised — “But not crazy surprised,” he said — when Nagy told him that he would be the starter against the Raiders and beyond. Veteran Andy Dalton, who suffered a bone bruise in his left knee Week 2, will be the backup Sunday.

“Definitely a little bit of surprise,” Fields said. “I feel like he was pretty straightforward with me and Andy. And I think my teammates believe in me. So [I’m] just grateful for the opportunity and just trying to get ready to work.”

In announcing that, in his words, “it’s Justin’s time,” Nagy admitted that it won’t always be easy. But the Bears have confidence in Fields’ development Monday through Saturday, and his ability to show that growth on Sundays.

Nagy pointed to Fields’ growth between his first start — the Bears gained 47 yards in a 42 plays in a debacle against the Browns — and his second, in which Fields went 11-for-17 for 209 yards, no touchdowns and one interception in a win Sunday against the Lions.

Fields being forced to play without injured running back David Montgomery will ratchet up the degree of difficulty. But Nagy is intrigued enough to find out what his rookie can do, both against the Raiders and the rest of the league.

“I think the biggest thing for us is to understand that it’s not going to be perfect,” Nagy said. “Justin knows that, right? We all understand. There’s going to be some times where things happen, but we’ve got to continue to stay positive.”

Fields’ fellow quarterbacks should help. Nagy repeated how difficult it was for him to break the news to Dalton. The veteran was disappointed by the decision — and Nagy didn’t blame him — but didn’t pass that along to the rookie. When Fields was driving home to meet his parents, Dalton called him.

“He just told me it was a great opportunity for me and that’d he be here for it all, for everything I needed, and he just didn’t want it to be awkward,” Fields said. “He didn’t want our relationship to change because of the situation. So I told him that was very comforting to hear from him …

“Our relationship has just grown over the past few months. And it’s going to continue to grow each and every day. [Third-stringer] Nick [Foles] and Andy, they’ve both been great to me. They’ve taught me a lot. And, of course, I’m going to be leaning on those guys for the rest of the season to just learn as much as I can from them.”

Now, though, he’ll be able to put those pointers into action.

Starting Sunday.

“You just have to understand that there’s going to be mistakes made,” Fields said. “You just have to learn from those mistakes and try not to make those mistakes twice.”

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