It’s always a guarantee that any discussion of the Chicago Bears’ QB situation will draw immediate interest and clicks from people around the web. Frankly, it’s the easiest way to attract new readers in Sports Journalism. “Chicago Bears XYZ QB has no chance to-”
Instant click bait.
Matt Nagy recently sat down with PFF and Sunday Night Football’s Cris Collinsworth to discuss what’s happening with Andy Dalton and Justin Fields as mandatory minicamp begins at Halas Hall.
Oh, a QB potential controversy, you say? Never in Chicago. Bah.
Below is the full podcast for any interested party wanting the full coverage.
Of course the big question posed with Matt Nagy, several times between this interview and his latest presser, was (paraphrased) if there is a chance Justin Fields could be the Bears’ week one starter at QB.
“No. I mean Andy is our starter. Again I can’t predict anything,” Nagy said. “You know how it goes. There’s so many things that can happen between today and Week 1. But Andy is our starter and Justin is our No. 2 and we’re going to stick to this plan.”
The answer isn’t surprising. This has been the status quo from Halas Hall ever since the Bears traded up from 20th to 11th overall and selected the former Ohio State Buckeye. Despite signing Andy Dalton and (allegedly) promised him the starting job no matter what.
Yet here is where things get twisted into a rather dishonest take.
Chicago Bears HC Matt Nagy told @CollinsworthPFF that there is no possible scenario that Justin Fields is the starting quarterback Week 1.— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) June 15, 2021
Nagy: "Andy Dalton is our starter. Justin is our number 2 and we are going to stick with this plan. You just got to trust the plan."
That’s actually not what Matt Nagy said. As provided above, Matt Nagy’s true answer had more context to consider. Here’s our guy Robert Schmitz putting the full quote out into the Twittersphere.
Full quote:— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) June 15, 2021
"No. I mean Andy is our starter. Again I can't predict anything. You know how it goes. There's so many things that can happen between today and Week 1. But Andy is our starter and Justin is our No. 2 and we're going to stick to this plan."
Lil less definitive. https://t.co/3DK976YCzb
I’d say the full quote makes a bit more sense for this situation. Here is the bottom-line: it’s June. It’s day one of mandatory mini-camp. No major decisions at any (potential) competition will be made. Not yet, at least.
Matt Flynn was the starting QB for the Seattle Seahawks in 2012.
Bruce Gradkowski was the starting QB for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011.
2017 was supposed to be Mike Glennon’s year.
“Rex Grossman is our QB.”
Until all of those turned out to not be the case when decisions and statements began to matter.
Matt Flynn was replaced by rookie Russell Wilson by game three of the preseason for 2012. Another rookie in Andy Dalton took over as the week one starter at QB over Bruce Gradkowski for 2011. Mike Glennon was benched in favor of Mitchell Trubisky following week four of the 2017 season. Rex Grossman took a seat for Brian Griese after week three of the 2007 season.
Anything can happen. Matt Nagy alluded to that several times today. He did; however, double down on Andy Dalton being the week one starter as per their “plan.” That’s also a plan that hasn’t reached the pre-season yet.
The plan is presented below, for what it’s worth.
Matt Nagy said definitively this afternoon that Andy Dalton is the team's Week 1 starter, consistent with what the Bears have emphasized since draft weekend.— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) June 15, 2021
The Bears' long-term plan is to ease Fields into a starting role that they want him to hold down for a decade or longer.
It’s a plan that copies what Matt Nagy saw in Kansas City between QBs Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes. The reality is these two comparisons could not be any more different. Matt Nagy should know this. And, previously, he conceded that to be the case.
Alex Smith started all but one game for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017. The season finale against the Denver Broncos was treated as a glorified scrimmage to see where Pat Mahomes was in his development. Alex Smith, meanwhile, was already a Pro Bowler with three consecutive playoff appearances prior to Mahomes making his debut.
Andy Dalton is entering his first season with the Chicago Bears. As Matt Flynn did with the Seattle Seahawks in 2012. And what Bruce Gradkowski did with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011. Gradkowski and Flynn were learning their respective playbooks just like their rookie counterparts did. Dalton is doing the same now in Chicago.
On the statement Matt Nagy said Justin Fields cannot win the job in training camp. He didn’t say Andy Dalton can’t lose his job, either. He wants his QBs to be competitive. Their (current) roles are as follows.
- Andy Dalton
- Justin Fields
- Nick Foles
I’d argue if the plan was to sit Justin Fields for the entirety of the 2021 season, then why have him above Nick Foles? Oh, wait, there’s the chance Nick Foles isn’t even on the roster when week one roles around. It also suggests that, if Andy Dalton performs poorly, it’s Justin’s job to take the Field(s). In coaches speak it’s Andy’s job until he loses that privilege.
That plan can also change, too.
As a soon-to-be-former Packer QB once said - R.E.L.A.X.