'This is Justin's time': 5 reasons why the Chicago Bears are sticking with Justin Fields at quarterback

Sarah Spain believes the Bears should be Justin Fields’ team for the remainder of the season. However, Bill Lazor, the offensive coordinator, will call plays. (1:45).
LAKE FOREST (Ill.) -- Chicago Bears head Coach Matt Nagy announced Wednesday that Justin Fields, a rookie quarterback, will be the club's starter, regardless of Andy Dalton (knee), health status.

Nagy stressed that the Bears will not turn back to Dalton, except for injury, and told the media, "This Justin's time."

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Fields, who was injured in Weeks 3 and 4, will once again be the Bears' offensive leader when they host the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET on CBS Here are five reasons Nagy & the Bears made the decision to move to Ohio State's former standout.

1. To get him, the Bears moved up

The Bears traded up nine spots in order to draft Fields in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft. It was obvious that Fields would become Chicago's full-time quarterback. From 2002 to 2020, 19 teams had traded up in either the first or second rounds to draft a quarterback. From 2017 to 2020, it happened seven times, with teams taking Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson (and Mitchell Trubisky). You've heard of them?

Fields is the future. Fields was the future. This was something everyone at Bears headquarters realized the instant he walked into the building. Fields was only a matter time before he surpassed Dalton on the depth chart.

2. 2.

After Dalton sustained a bone injury to his left knee during the Bears' Sept. 19 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals it was too late for the veteran quarterback. Nagy told reporters that Dalton would continue to be the starter if he is healthy. The Bears didn't need much motivation to choose Fields. Fields had already played against the Bengals and Los Angeles Rams before the injury to Daltons in Week 2. Fields was the first to be offered the job, even though Fields had a QBR 8.4 against the Cleveland Browns.

3. Potential for big-play

In Sunday's 24-14 victory over the Detroit Lions Fields posted modest numbers (11-of-17, 209 yards and one intercept), but five Fields completions were for more than 20 yards. Fields also hit Darnell Mooney, a wide receiver downfield, for gains of 64 yards and 32 yards. This is a big deal for a Bears team that has been lacking explosive-play potential.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, of Dalton's 49 attempts this season, none reached 20 or more air miles. This makes him the only quarterback who has not thrown deep. Fields is 5-of-8 when he throws 20 or more air yard this season, including 4-of-5 against the Lions. Fields has thrown 15 percent of his throws over 20 yards or more, which is fifth among 34 quarterbacks who have at least 40 attempts.

The Bears are a threat to throw far with Fields.

On Wednesday, Justin Fields, Bears quarterback was named permanent starter. Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sport

4. He can run

Fields is an elite sprinter and a danger every time he gets out of the pocket. Dalton doesn't have this trait. The Bears require a running threat, especially with David Montgomery, their running back, out for several weeks with an injured knee. Fields is that threat. Fields is fast. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Fields was able to reach a speed of 20.39 miles an hour as a ball carrier during his preseason debut. That was the Bears' fastest rusher speed since 2020.

The Bears were able to play to Fields' strengths against the Lions better than before, as Bill Lazor, the new playcaller, increased the offense’s play-action usage and placed Fields more under center than in previous games. With Lazor as the control, the Bears expect Fields' mobility to continue.

5. It was what the city wanted.

There was tremendous public outrage at Nagys decision to play quarterback on Wednesday. Fields was wanted by the fans from Day 1. For most Chicago fans, the thought of Dalton returning was unimaginable. Since Sid Luckman's retirement more than 70 years ago, Bears fans haven't had a true franchise quarterback. Many believe Fields is a viable franchise quarterback. The fans couldn't wait any longer. They can't wait any longer, and you can't blame them.