The Bears are still planning to start Andy Dalton to open the 2021 NFL season.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy re-emphasized this week that the team’s plan is still to have Andy Dalton be the team’s Week 1 starter.
“I mean, Andy is our starter,” Nagy told PFF’s Chris Collinsworth on an episode of Collinsworth’s podcast which premiered Tuesday. “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.”
In early June, The MMQB’s Albert Breer noted that the team’s quarterback situation is “very status quo,” with Dalton taking the first-team reps, and Fields, who was selected No. 11 in this past year’s NFL draft, working with the back-ups in training camp.
As Breer wrote, “The Bears are going to get Fields a lot of work in preseason games, so he’ll have opportunity to show who he is as a player. And it’s obvious what the idea here is—for Dalton to play great, the Bears to contend, and Fields to keep stacking good days in the background.”
When Dalton signed with Chicago in March, he told reporters that the team told him he was the starter.
“That was one of the reasons why I wanted to come here,” Dalton said. “So every conversation I’ve had has been that, so that’s the assurance that I’ve gotten.”
Dalton had spent last season with the Cowboys on a one-year deal. In 11 games, he threw for 2,170 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Prior to joining Dallas, Dalton spent his first nine seasons with the Bengals, making three playoff appearances. He hasn’t played a full season since 2017.
If Nagy’s words hold true, Dalton will take over the starting job from former Bears No. 2 pick Mitchell Trubisky, who agreed to a deal with the Bills this offseason. The team also traded for veteran quarterback Nick Foles in mid-March.
“The way that grew, and just organically happened between [Patrick Mahomes] and [Alex Smith], I’ll never forget it,” Nagy told Breer in the aftermath of drafting Fields. “And so here we are in a situation right now with Andy and with Nick [Foles] and with Justin, where Justin is able to come in and just, first off, learn the simple things of how to be an NFL quarterback. Him being on the grass and playing football, that’s easy, that’s what he’s done his whole life.
“But there are so many things that go into being a great quarterback, that are not just on the field but off the field, that he’s gonna be able to learn from Andy and from Nick. And that’s where I think, if you look at the certain situations, some guys make it and some guys don’t. And it’s our job as coaches to make sure we put them in the best possible environment so he can reach that ceiling.”
More NFL coverage:
• Breer: Carson Wentz Enjoying His Transition to Indianapolis
• Vrentas: What You Need to Know About the Deshaun Watson Lawsuits
• Orr: Six Losing Teams in 2020 That’ll Make the Playoffs in 2021