LAKE FOREST – A trip to a podcast triggered some fresh discussion on the biggest topics for the Bears surrounding their 2021 season.
During an appearance this week on “The Cris Collinsworth Podcast,” the host asked Matt Nagy point-blank if there was a possible scenario in which Justin Fields would play for the Bears on opening night September 12th against the Rams.
“No. I mean, Andy (Dalton) is our starter, and again, I can’t predict anything. You know how it goes, there’s so many things that could happen between today and that Week 1,” said Nagy to Collinsworth in response to the answer. “But Andy is our starter and Justin’s our No. 2, and we’re going to stick to this plan.”
Naturally, that answer caused some waves around Chicago as many debated whether Nagy had shut the door on a possible quarterback competition between Dalton and Fields during training camp in Lake Forest.
At his news conference on Tuesday, Nagy was asked if Dalton was promised the job for opening night when he signed a one-year contract with the team in March.
“No,” said Nagy in response to the question. “As you know, promises can get a little crazy. But what we told Andy is that he’s our starter and he knows that. That’s what Justin knows, that’s what Nick (Foles) knows, the rest of our coaches. We tell these guys knowing that there’s got to be a start, right?
“So that’s where we’re at, and now they go ahead and all three of them are going to be the best quarterback they can be, and then that gets into that plan; This plan that we keep talking about and it takes a little bit of time.
“But to answer your first question, there was no promises but we told him, and I specifically told him, you’re our starter, and that’s that.”
Right after, a reporter asked for clarification from Nagy on the fact that Fields can’t win the job for Week 1, as he said on the Collinsworth podcast?
“Whether it’s clarification that he can’t win it? Yes, correct. Andy Dalton is our starter,” said Nagy.
That means that Fields remains the No. 2 quarterback with Foles serving as No. 3 behind Dalton for at least the beginning of the season, barring an injury to the starter before Week 1. Nagy made it as clear as he could on Tuesday, but questions continued on Wednesday about the quarterback position.
While the head coach understood the inquiries into possible scenarios, he remains insistent the plan for the team as they finish mandatory mini-camp this week then in training camp starting in July.
“As far as the depth chart goes, this is where we’re at with Andy as the #1, with Justin as the #2, with Nick as the #3, but all three of those guys know that you need to produce, you need to play well, you need to compete, you need to be the best quarterback you can be,” said Nagy on Wednesday. “Then it’s going to be pretty easy for us to be able to see who that is and how that goes.
“Then they’ll be a process and a plan, we’re gonna stick to that. That plan’s not going to change tomorrow, the plan’s not going to change in training camp, the plan is a plan, and it’s been thought out.”
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