The Chicago Bears threw themselves into a quarterback controversy after selecting Justin Fields in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The team also inked veteran Andy Dalton to a one-year deal during free agency, and for months the conversation and debate between Dalton and Fields went around and around.
Dalton was named the starter but suffered an injury, which opened the door for the Bears rookie. Then on Wednesday, it was announced that Fields would be the team’s starter from now on as Matt Nagy finally caved and made the decision.
With the Las Vegas Raiders next up for the Bears, all eyes will be on Fields again. The rookie has been named the team’s starter and celebrated uniquely after receiving the news.
Matt Nagy makes his choice
It took months and months, but the Bears head coach has finally landed on the decision to roll with the Ohio State product. Chicago has limped out to a 2-2 start with victories against the Cincinnati Bengals and the winless Detroit Lions.
It was a bit of a surprise since Nagy kept insisting Dalton would be back to starting duties when he got healthy again. Nonetheless, Dalton was at practice on Wednesday, the same day that Nagy announced his decision, and the Bears head coach said Fields is ready (h/t Nick Shook of NFL.com).
“He’s done everything to show us that he’s ready for this opportunity.”Matt Nagy
Fields went without a touchdown pass against the Lions, but he developed some chemistry with the receivers, primarily Darnell Mooney, who had five grabs for a team-high 125 yards.
On the other hand, the Bears are now without running back David Montgomery for an extended period, but inserting Fields as the full-time starter should help open the offense up more and more.
It finally happened, and Bears fans everywhere should rejoice at Nagy’s decision.
Justin Fields’ unique celebration after earning the starting job
Fields found out he would be the starter on Tuesday night. What did he do?
Well, he sure didn’t celebrate. That much is clear. His parents happened to be in town and wanted to celebrate with their son, but the first-round pick had other ideas.
Fields immediately went to break down film for the Raiders contest, which won’t be an easy one after their impressive 3-1 start to the year. After months and months of questionable deliberation by the Bears coaching staff, it is officially Fields’ time to shine in Chicago.
The rookie can rest a little better now knowing the job is his, although he still has to prove his worth in the NFL and will have everybody’s attention going forward.
Fields got the news and went right back to the drawing board to prepare for the game and put the Bears above the .500 mark with a victory on Sunday.
How the Bears’ rookie fares against the Raiders defense
The Raiders are one of the biggest surprises of the 2021 NFL season. They jumped out to a 3-0 start with victories over the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, and Pittsburgh Steelers before falling to the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football.
Nonetheless, Gus Bradley came to Vegas as the new defensive coordinator and has this group playing some inspired defense. They have given up a decent amount of points — an even 100 so far — but they look much improved from 2020.
On the other hand, Fields has been a mixed bag since taking over after the injury to Dalton. On the year, the rookie has a 25-of-52 clip with 352 yards and no touchdown passes to go with a pair of interceptions.
His first career start was against the tough Cleveland Browns defense, and the entire Bears offense looked cold on the day. Against the Lions, it looked better — but then again, it is the Lions’ defense. After the game against the Raiders, Chicago faces the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so Fields is being thrown right into the fire against some of the best teams in the NFL.
Now is the time to see what the rookie can do.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference