Now there’s something the vast majority of Chicago Bears fans do not want to hear.
In a tweet on September 8, Bill Zimmerman of SB Nation’s Windy City Gridiron revealed what he was told about the Bears quarterback situation by an insider who spoke directly to head coach Matt Nagy — and it set Bears Twitter afire.
“I have no clue when Justin Fields starts,” Zimmerman tweeted before adding a wrinkle: “Spoke with an insider who spoke to Nagy directly recently and while Nagy gave no indication of a date (‘when he’s ready’) insider feels it will be a long wait.”
Zimmerman is a reliable source who has broken Bears-related news before, including schedule reveals, so he’s not someone we should easily dismiss. He then named exactly how long it may be before the Bears rookie QB takes over for veteran Andy Dalton — and it’s longer than many expect.
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Fields Predicted to Start Week 15 vs Divisional Foe
Zimmerman then got into specifics as to when he was told we could see the rookie quarterback take over for Dalton: On December 20, when the Bears host NFC North rivals the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. He also added a caveat: “If Dalton is healthy and decent.” So, as long as Dalton is healthy and performing in a “decent” fashion, he’ll keep the starting job? It certainly seems so.
Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace have been adamant since his arrival in March that Dalton will be the team’s starter, and they’ve maintained that stance even after the drafting of Fields. The rookie QB also outperformed Dalton in the preseason, and Fields has looked so good early on, fans and analysts alike have been calling for him to start Week 1 over Dalton.
Zimmerman also noted that he hopes there’s very little truth to the words spoken to him by the Bears insider, but based on everything we’ve seen and heard so far, there’s no reason to doubt this will be the team’s plan for the entire 2021 season — and naturally, Twitter had some responses (many of which were NSFW, so be WARNED):
Some are calling for the jobs of Nagy and company if this plan comes to fruition:
Others simply vented:
Some even think we may not see Fields at all this season:
While some folks straight up didn’t believe what Zimmerman tweeted:
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Dalton Unfazed By All the Fields Talk
Nagy has maintained from the beginning that he wants to emulate what he had in 2017 when he was offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs: Veteran Alex Smith started the entire season (save a meaningless final game) while then-rookie Patrick Mahomes sat on the bench and learned behind him before taking the reins in Year 2.
A few analysts have pointed out that it’s not quite the same situation, though, as Smith and Dalton are two very different players — as are Mahomes and Fields.
“Justin Fields is not Patrick Mahomes. Andy Dalton is not Alex Smith. The 2021 Chicago Bears are not the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs. The original blueprint made a lot of sense, but plans change. And they should change when players force them to change,” Bears Insider Adam Hoge wrote on August 28.
For his part, Dalton says he’s not worried about the rookie waiting in the wings — he’s more focused on taking the chance the Bears are giving him and running with it.
“That’s the worst thing you can do is look over your shoulder,” Dalton said on September 8. “We’re talking about tuning out the stuff you don’t need to focus on and knowing where you need to put your time and effort and all that kind of stuff. I think that’s just where I’m at. You don’t worry about all the other stuff.”
If Dalton performs well, the Bears will likely be winning — but if they’re not winning, it will be interesting to see how long Nagy and company keep Fields on the bench. If there’s any truth to this latest rumor, it could be quite some time.
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