Why Andy Dalton is still starter, not Justin Fields originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Bears have a plan, and they’re sticking to it. Matt Nagy announced on Monday morning, that despite the growth he displayed against the Lions, Justin Fields is still the QB2, and Andy Dalton will start if he’s healthy.
“What’s been great about these last couple weeks is Justin’s had the opportunity to play and get significant snaps and he’s grown from it,” Nagy said. “Now we just gotta see, where’s Andy’s health at?”
Whether or not Dalton will be healthy enough to lead the offense in Week 5 remains to be seen. Nagy had no injury updates on Monday, for any player, but he said he hopes to have more clarity on Dalton’s status by Wednesday.
After an abysmal Week 3 start, in which nothing the Bears did on offense worked, Fields looked much improved against the Lions. He completed 11-17 passes for 209 yards, and threw one interception. That was good for an 82.7 quarterback rating. While those numbers aren’t eye-popping, Fields put on display several of the attributes that drew the Bears to him in the first place. He placed several deep balls with pinpoint accuracy, showing off his special arm talent. Fields also showed good escapability and the ability to make plays off-script when things break down.
“What we're focused on is just how he's played these last two games,” Nagy said. “And he grew from the first game to the second game. And you look at, really this plan that we've talked about this whole time is what we've discussed with everybody. We've discussed it with the quarterbacks, they both know including Nick that they all need to be great in practice and when they get their opportunities in a game. That's all they're doing, Justin's been phenomenal with understanding that, I think it's great that he's had an opportunity.”
All that said, Dalton hasn’t performed poorly this season. He was putting together a good game against the Bengals in Week 2 before he had to exit with his knee injury. In just over one quarter of play, Dalton had completed 9-11 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, while adding two rushes for 25 yards.