Training Camp Diary: A Good Problem To Have

| August 10th, 2021

Justin Fields seems like he’s ready to play, but Andy Dalton is trying to make it so he doesn’t have to.

The reports from Chicago Bears training camp are nearly unanimous in that both quarterbacks are well ahead of where either Mitch Trubisky or Nick Foles were a year ago. That puts the Bears in a good situation at a position they’ve rarely been able to say that about. If they want to throw the young stud out there, he won’t drown. But they can let him take his time.

At this point, the throw Fields made during Sunday’s practice has spread around the internet enough times that Bears fans surely don’t need a description of it.

Whether it’s practice or games, that was as special a throw as you’ll see. It was the kind of throw only a handful of NFL quarterbacks can think about making. It’s hard not to get carried away when envisioning what Fields could do in this offense. And it’s hard to imagine a world in which he won’t get his shot, quickly. But unlike Mike Glennon with Mitch Trubisky in 2017 or Matt Flynn with Russell Wilson in 2012, Dalton isn’t giving the job away.

When the star wide receiver raves about you, as Allen Robinson has about Dalton, you’re in a good spot as a quarterback. Playing against the Bears defensive starters without most of his starting offensive line, the reports on Dalton have been consistent. He puts the ball where it needs to be, when it needs to be there.

Yet even at his best, Dalton can’t deliver the splash plays of Fields.  While early reports indicated some wild accuracy at times from Fields – and an interception on a screen pass – the gap certainly seems to be closing quickly.

There’s little question that Fields will surpass Dalton, the question is when. Because Dalton is playing reasonably well, there is not rush. Coach Matt Nagy has indicated all along that Fields will play when he’s clearly the better option. That might not be Week One and if Dalton continues to play well, it might not happen this season.

The Bears have two capable starting quarters. This is a problem they’ve never had before.

But it’s a good problem to have.

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