LAKE FOREST (Ill.) -- Andy Dalton's job as a starting employee is secure -- at least for Week 1.
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears coach, reiterated the team's decision not to play Dalton as quarterback in the regular season finale at Tennessee. On Tuesday, he announced that Dalton would not be playing at Chicago's final regular-season game at Tennessee. The veteran will take over as the team's Week 1.
Instead, the Bears will instead start Justin Fields, a rookie pick in the first round. Nagy stated that Fields should play two quarters Saturday before Nick Foles, third-stringer.
Nagy stated that Fields will be playing with "some" but not all of the Bears' starting offense.
Nagy stated, "I believe it's going be a great opportunity for Justin, and then you know that we'll be selective across all the board for other players as well as our own," but he said, "You're going to notice a direction of more like the old-school preseason game for that."
We just want him to play hard and play well. There are many variables. He isn't out there, just as Andy hasn't been here with some of the one receivers. All I want is for him to play good football at the quarterback position, and keep the bigger picture in view for us all.
Fans have been pushing for Fields to be selected over Dalton in the NFL draft, which is the 11th overall pick.
Fields continued his encouraging preseason debut against Miami (175 all purpose yards, two touchdowns), with a modest performance last week against Buffalo (9-of-19 for 80 yard and 46 rushing yards in four attempts).
Fields' uncanny ability to keep plays alive in the pocket and his elite speed have captivated a Chicago fanbase that has been without a true franchise quarterback for over 70 years.
Nagy stated that Justin is doing well. He passed the test, I'm certain, given his level of experience compared to a lot rookies at this time.
"So that's good. That's what we know. It's growth for all these quarterbacks, Justin included. Everyone has their own story about how they got to the top. Every quarterback in this league has their own story. There are many examples of players who have been in the league since Day 1. You can see great examples of this. You can also find great examples of men who haven’t played since Day 1. They’ve just sat for a while. These are the guys in the league right now. This is a discussion about guys from 10 years ago. It is up to us to decide how we do it.
Dalton's most memorable preseason moment was when he completed a touchdown pass of 73 yards to Rodney Adams, wide receiver for the Bills. However, overall the Bears offense has been stalled since Dalton has quarterbacked them in the past two games.
However, it would be wrong to place all the Bears' offensive problems on Dalton.
The Bears have suffered a series of injuries in training camp, including one-time projected left tackle Tevin Jenkins who had to undergo back surgery.
Dalton was also without three key players, receiver Allen Robinson, runningback David Montgomery, and tight end Cole Kmet at specific points in preseason matches.
Nagy has always maintained his commitment to Dalton starting in Week 1. However, he has also not forgotten that Fields will eventually be the Bears' starting quarterback.
Nagy stated, "We feel really good about the quarterback room right now. I know that." "We feel really good and that's a credit for these players that are in the room. It's a credit for their coaches, and now that we have Week 1, as a group, as a team, all phases, we've got the chance to put it together before we go to play Chicago Bear football.