It is a well-known courtesy to not cheer for injuries. As anyone from Philadelphia knows, this hasn't been a constant. Fans don't applaud players leaving the field in pain, even if they are able to reach a desired conclusion. This is especially true when it's a player from their team.
Yesterday afternoon at Soldier Field, it could have been dangerous. There is not one Bears fan who would prefer Andy Dalton to Justin Fields. The fact that Fields was just kind of presented by the Bears to fans in Week 1 and promised to again in Week 2 could have made matters worse. It's not right to give a slice of pizza to a hungry person. Let some of the grease drip onto their tongues and then send them back into the same sawdust they've been eating all their lives. For generations, Bears fans have waited for Justin Fields. Many Bears fans have waited their whole lives for a Justin Fields. This is not only for Bears fans, but for the entire lineage.
Surprisingly, Dalton did not let the game get chaotically raucous. He had a beautiful opening drive for a touchdown and a well-executed closing drive. This is something that happens once a election cycle. Fans came to see Fields or beg Fields or boo Fields. But it's hard to complain when the Bears lead 7-0 after one beer.
It was a very awkward sound when Dalton, clearly in pain from the tent of sorrow, remained on the sideline following a scramble. Fans have waited for Fields to take over full-time since draft night. But the outcome was not what they expected. There was a sense that everyone was cheering in their own shock politeness. However, it reached a level where some thought the stadium might burst into flames.
Matt Nagy didn't want this, and he would prefer to push Fields full unveiled as long as possible. The evidence was clear that this is why. Matt Nagy does not know what to do about Fields.
Nagy will say that Dalton started the week, but that there was a plan to include a few Fields plays. But it shouldn't be too much of a gear shift. Fields is likely to start at some point, even agitating for it. The coaching staff knew this and created a section in the playbook specifically for him. You would hope so.
However, it didn't look like that Sunday. Is Nagy ever known to have rolled Fields out of his pocket in an effort to reduce his reads and give him more space? No. No. They didn't have any of these either. Fields was not made easy by Nagy even on one trip to the red zone. Jimmy Graham is the only person who can do one thing. It is not just posting up defense backs in the endzone that he gets paid a ridiculously high salary. It's still possible to get him isolated and throw the ball high above his head. Nagy couldn't find the right page, so the Bears settled for a field goal. This made the game incredibly interesting.
Fields also made mistakes with some of his own missteps and an interception in the fourth. Fields also missed some critical help. He missed a pass from Allen Robinson in his end zone, which made me weep at all the things I've missed. A soft-as–baby-shit call to Cole Kmet was another huge win. Nagy, his inability to see the right things in front of him, is still the main culprit.
For the past two seasons, Bears fans have been living with this knowledge. This knowledge has been a constant companion for the Bears fans over the past two seasons. Nagy's offense was not compatible with this so he kept Mitch in his pocket. It was almost like having a monkey take the controls of a submarine. Nagy was furious that this didn't work and insisted that he needed Nick Foles to be his pocket passer. Foles could manage Nagys offense in a way that Nagy couldn't see. Foles could not move, the offensive line was terrible, Foles told Nagy that, and they both left.
We don't know what Nagys offense should look like. It's just normal. It does not seem to have a consistent strength or focal point. This is what it does. Nagy will not explain why the offense is effective when it does. For example, David Montgomery running using actual designed runs and not option-reads in his shotgun. Nagy often doesn't understand why and says postgame that he will have to go back to it, even though he is in charge.
The postmortem today was not any better.
Nagy is aware that Fields will take over full-time once Nagy leaves, which could happen as early as this week. It will then be obvious that the Emperor has no clothes. Nagy may be able to guise it with espionage, mystery and cleverness. But we've seen too many. Fields is out, and the offense looks unimaginative, ineffective and stale. He cannot blame the limited QB. He could be blaming a weak line, but he doesn't plan around it and hasn't in the past. Fields has endless possibilities. Nagy, however, is afraid of that potential instead of accepting it. He won't be able to answer those questions because he hasn't had them since Cody Parkey injured his brain in January 2019.
Sunday marks the start of the clock.