LAKE FOREST – Unless there is an injury, this is how the Bears’ quarterback depth chart is going to look like when the 2021 season begins:
- Andy Dalton
- Justin Fields
- Nick Foles
It’s been hammered home since the start of offseason workouts and won’t change as the team gets closer to their September 12th opener against the Rams at SoFi Stadium.
So over the first few weeks of training camp, each quarterback has settled into their roles with this Bears’ team. Dalton, of course, has the first crack at the starting role since he was anointed the starter the minuted he signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the franchise in March.
That commitment from the team remained even after the drafting of Fields in April, despite clamoring from fans to give the 11th overall pick the shot to start.
So over the offseason and training camp so far, the priority remained for Dalton to get up to speed on the Bears’ offense which he’ll run for the first time.
“I’m very comfortable with what we’re doing. It’s just being in the system and just studying the book and making sure everybody is on the same page,” said Dalton when asked his comfort level in the Bears’ offense. “I’ve been a part of so many different systems that there’s not very many plays that are new to me. I’m very confident in what we have, with what we’ve got going. It’s just building that chemistry as we get through camp and be ready to go for Week 1.”
Fields will be on the sidelines watching barring an injury, unless there is a major philosophical shift between now at the start of the season. The quarterback has mentioned a few times that he’s on board with the team’s plan at quarterback and reiterated that when speaking to the media this past week.
“It’s been good, to be honest with you,” said Fields of the Bears’ quarterback arrangement. “Literally I’m just trying, you know, to stay positive, day-by-day, and get better. Andy’s been in this league, what, for ten years now, so he knows the playbook like this and that. He’s smart.
“He’s teaching me a lot, so I’m gonna take everything I can and learn from him and Nick. They’ve both been in this league 10, 11 years, so just having those two guys in the room with me, I’ve definitely don’t take it for granted. So I’m just going to be a sponge and kinda soak everything in, and just learn everything that they tell me.”
Foles is one of those mentors as he deals with a very unusual situation as he enters his tenth season, sitting as the third quarterback a year removed from competing for the top spot. He’d initially lose the job to Mitchell Trubisky in 2020 but got it in Week 3 against Atlanta, then held it till he was injured late in a Week 10 loss to the Vikings.
Trubisky would hold onto the job the rest of the season as Foles saw action in only one game the rest of the season.
That’s left the quarterback in an awkward position as the third-stringer behind Fields and Dalton, trying to keep a veteran’s perspective on the situation. Foles told reporters this week that he’s enjoyed working with the third team and giving players on the cusp of a roster spot the chance to shine in training camp.
“Do what I would do if I was the ‘1,’” said Foles of his attitude this summer. “Come in early, getting the workouts in, doing a little extra after practice, doing what I can with the mental reps, being there to support the quarterbacks.”
Foles said that he was approached about trades in the offseason but the situation doesn’t work, and it has to for the Super Bowl LII MVP to want to make the move.
“Listen, I’m 32, I feel great, the version of me right now is much better than the version of me that played in the Super Bowl. I’ll tell you that, and I’m confident in that. Put that through your mind. I know that. I know what this game’s about,” said Foles. “You have to have the whole package as a team, you have to have everyone in there; Top, down has to be great. If it’s not great, you’re going to be mediocre. I’ve seen it, I’ve been a part of it, and unfortunately, when you’re a quarterback, you’ve got to go through a lot of the baloney.
“But that’s part of it. That’s why we play this position, and that’s why we grow. Because at the end of the day, there might be some kid that’s watching this press conference and they say ‘Nick Foles is a ‘3’ quarterback and he’s going out there and his mentality is to dice up that defense and help his teammates,’ and that’s what I’ll continue to do till I lace up the cleats for the last time.”