You gotta love this answer from Justin Fields.pic.twitter.com/iDhpv6HCBS
— BFR (@BearsFilmRoom) September 19, 2021
Justin Fields is now the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears.
Could Andy Dalton come back from injury and find himself on the field? Sure. But it’s highly unlikely. Even Dalton knew, as he watched Fields from the sideline, that he wouldn’t be able to survive an injury as the starter. Fields will start Sunday in Cleveland, start at Soldier Field the week after, and assuming he stays healthy, start every subsequent Bears game for the next decade or more.
And now Matt Nagy has 15 games to prove he’s the right guy to coach him.
It’s a pretty simple enterprise. The Justin Fields that plays January 9th against the Minnesota Vikings has to be an improvement over the Justin Fields that plays September 26th against the Cleveland Browns. And the two men have to develop the kind of working relationship the best coach/quarterback combinations seem to enjoy. If those two things are achieved, Nagy safely stays on as head coach in 2022. If either is in question, the Bears can’t risk wasting a second year of Fields’ rookie contract and will have to move on to a new coach.
The work is there to be done. Fields needs to develop an internal clock on the field, guiding his decisions whether to run or not. He also needs to clean up everything pre-snap, both with his cadences and his protection calls. And Nagy needs to completely reconfigure his offensive approach for Fields, a quarterback who shares almost no traits with the former guy. Fields needs to be on the move constantly. The Bears need to take advantage of his 4.4 speed.
It’s on Nagy now, as he enters the most important three-month period of his coaching life. If he succeeds, he’ll be the coach in Chicago for a long time.