Justin Fields and Jordan Love could end up having some fierce battles in the coming years as quarterbacks on opposites of one of the NFL’s oldest rivalries, but that hasn’t stopped the two first-round quarterbacks from getting in a little training together this offseason.
David Mulugheta, who is the agent for both Fields and Love, shared a video to his Instagram on Thursday of the NFC North’s two most popular young quarterbacks working out under the same roof with the 2021 NFL season about two months away. Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, another one of Mulugheta’s clients, was also in attendance and tagged in the clip with the caption: #FamilyTies.
Fields and Love are each arriving at different but equally important moments in their NFL careers coming into the training camp later this month. Love, who spent his rookie season as an inactive third-stringer in 2020 after his controversial selection, will finally get an opportunity to prove himself in a Green Bay Packers uniform during the three-game preseason late in August. Even if Aaron Rodgers returns to his post as the Packers’ starting quarterback, those reps will be essential for a team still evaluating their long-term future at the position.
As for Fields, head coach Matt Nagy has remained insistent that Andy Dalton will be the Chicago Bears‘ starter heading into camp and moving forward into the season, but the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NFL draft has the potential to be undeniable in his exhibition opportunities. While it might not win him the starting job in Week 1, it could motivate Chicago to fast-track him to the forefront sooner than originally planned.
The latest Bears news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bears newsletter here!
How Soon Until Fields’ Debut for Bears?
OK, for a moment here, let’s acknowledge the opportunity ahead of Dalton. The 33-year-old quarterback has struggled to play good and consistent football since he was last named a Pro Bowler in 2016, but there’s enough on his resume from his early career with the Bengals to think that he might be able to win games with the Bears if he can really get comfortable in the system. Should he win more than a few games, Dalton might even remain the starter past the midpoint of the season.
Make no mistake about it, though: Fields is the man of the future in Chicago, and fans are understandably hungry for the start of his time as the Bears’ starting quarterback. Unfortunately, they will have to settle for an appetizer in the form of Fields’ preseason debut until more is determined through camp. That might not be as exciting as the endgame, but it is still a chance to see how the former Ohio State star throws outside of a practice environment.
The Bears are scheduled to host the Miami Dolphins for a noon kickoff at Soldier Field on Aug. 14, a day that might also mark the start of the Fields era in Chicago.
Rodgers’ Status Hangs Over Love
At the moment, the path for Love to become QB1 is a little less clear than Fields’ route in Chicago. There might not be a much bigger challenge for a young quarterback than trying to climb the depth chart with the league’s reigning MVP still sitting at the top. Even with Rodgers’ status up in the air, nobody is ready to swear in Love as the Packers’ next starting quarterback just yet.
The preseason, however, is going to be a major test for him. Love was robbed of an opportunity to play live-game reps in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and didn’t see any in-season action as a rookie, but Rodgers’ absence in OTAs and mandatory minicamp this spring gave the Packers a chance to start working with Love as their top guy. Next up, it will be seeing how he handles the offense when the clocking is running and the game is moving at full speed with a real opponent on the other side.
Love should get that opportunity no matter what happens with Rodgers’ situation, as Rodgers scarcely plays during the preseason and Love will almost certainly still be a huge factor in the Packers’ long-term plans. How his time in the spotlight will go over, though, is another question entirely.
The Packers are scheduled to play their first preseason game at 7 p.m. on Aug. 14, facing off against the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field.