LAKE FOREST – No matter what, the Bears’ first round draft pick in 2021 will start a game at quarterback this season.
If and when it happens during the regular season is still to be determined, but Justin Fields will be under center to begin the team’s final preseason game on Saturday.
During his news conference on Tuesday, head coach Matt Nagy said that the rookie will be the starter against the Titans in Nashville. Andy Dalton, who has been anointed the starter for the beginning of the 2021 season, will not play.
Nagy expects that Fields will play the first half against Tennessee with Nick Foles taking over in the second half.
“We’ll be selective across the board for the other players as we go,” said Nagy of start “You’re gonna see a direction more of, kinda like the old school fourth preseason game. It’s just kinda new for all but that’s where we’re at as a staff, and where I’m at, too.”
Fields has seen time behind Dalton in the first two games of the preseason, starting off 14/20 for 142 yards and a touchdown throwing along with 33 yards rushing and a score against the Dolphins August 14th. Last Saturday against the Bills, he was 9/19 passes for 80 yards while also rushing for 46 yards and four carries.
Those performances have led to calls for Nagy to reverse his preseason thinking and make Fields the starter for Week 1 against the Rams. Yet the rookie has always publically supported Dalton starting while he is the backup, something that’s impressed Nagy.
“Just the support that he has in this plan and the support that he has for Andy is pretty neat,” said Nagy of Fields. “I think you all saw that with his support for Andy and some of the comments he made. That’s not made up. That’s real for where he’s at. When you have a healthy quarterback room and you have a guy like Andy who’s supporting him and vice versa, he trusts in the plan, and he understands it.”