Andy Dalton won’t go gentle into that good night. He wants everyone to know he’s the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears, and he’s not focused on anything else, least of all the hype surrounding the rookie drafted to replace him.
While meeting with the media at Halas Hall on July 27, Dalton fielded questions — pun intended — about the team’s rookie quarterback Justin Fields, and Dalton wasn’t short or snippy, but more matter of fact in his replies.
When asked specifically what he thinks of all the attention Fields has been receiving since getting drafted in April, Dalton said this:
“I mean, it comes with that position. He’s a first-round pick. I understand that. But I also understand that I’m the starter and I understand that — I knew I signed a one-year deal. I knew that I was going to come in and I was going to be the starter, regardless of the situation, coming in. That’s my focus. I’m not worried about all the stuff that’s going to be going on with Justin because that doesn’t affect me. At the end of the day, it’s what I’m going to be doing and everything. Justin and I have a really good relationship and I’m trying to help him out as much as I can.”
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Dalton: ‘I’m Sure I’ll Be Making Big Plays Too’
Dalton played in 11 games for the Dallas Cowboys last year, starting nine after replacing an injured Dak Prescott. He completed 64.9% of his passes for 2,170 yards, 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. It was the second-highest completion percentage of his career, which is a decent sign, but his 6.5 yards per attempt was the lowest mark in his 10 years as a pro. He’ll need to improve it if he wants to stay in front of Fields, who is also far more dynamic with his legs.
With training camp officially underway for the Bears, it won’t take long for both media members and fans to glimpse which signal-caller is standing out and making plays. When asked how he’s going to respond if Fields ignites fans by lighting it up during training camp, Dalton was quick to remind everyone he’s ready to light it up, too.
“I’m sure I’ll be making big plays, too, and hopefully they’ll be cheering at the same time,” Dalton said, before once again reiterating that he was the team’s starting QB. “For me being the starter, hopefully they would see that if I’m making big plays, that’s good for everybody.”
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Dalton Was Also Very Complimentary of Fields
The veteran quarterback was also quick to praise Fields. “I mean, he’s talented. You don’t get taken that high if you can’t throw the ball. He can throw it. I think everybody knows that,” Dalton said.
“He’s been great from the beginning,” Dalton added. “He’s coming in, he’s learned well. You never know how teams call plays in college and different things, but just to step in the huddle and being able to hear the player call it and all that kind of stuff, he’s gotten better every day. He’s got the right mindset, the right mentality. He’s done a good job.”
This kind of attitude and confidence coming from Dalton can only be a good thing for Chicago. He very much seems like a guy with something to prove this coming season.
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