Matt Nagy says Andy Dalton will start Week One

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Plenty of Bears fans had hoped rookie quarterback Justin Fields would leapfrog veteran Andy Dalton before Week One of the regular season. On Saturday, Bears coach Matt Nagy made the season-opening plan unequivocally clear, if it wasn’t already.

Dalton will start, Nagy told reporters after a preseason drubbing at home against the Bills.

“We need to see him in the regular season,” Nagy said.

PFT consistently has reported that Dalton was promised the Week One starting gig when he signed with the team in the offseason, before the draft. Although many promises are made to be broken, and no verbal assurances are ever binding, Nagy remains intent to resist the temptation to go with Fields.

Nagy surely is influenced by his 2017 experience in Kansas City, where he worked as offensive coordinator. That year, the Chiefs traded up to draft quarterback Patrick Mahomes. That year, Alex Smith started every game of the regular season with one exception; Mahomes started a meaningless Week 17 game against the Broncos.

The circumstances are very different in Chicago, however. The Bears haven’t had a high-end quarterback since at least Jay Cutler. Some would say not since Jim McMahon. Many would say not since Sid Luckman.

Also, Dalton has no equity with his new team. Smith had played for the Chiefs for four season before Mahomes arrived, and the Chiefs consistently contended. Dalton spent the first nine years of his career in Cincinnati and last year in Dallas.

On Saturday, Dalton completed 11 of 17 passes for 146 yards, one touchdown, and one interception; that equates to a passer rating of 86.9. The Bears trailed during the Dalton vs. Mitch Trubisky duel 28-0 before Dalton connected with receiver Rodney Adams for a 73-yard catch and run, which following the blocked extra point cut the margin to 28-6.

Fields completed nine of 19 passes for 80 yards, a passer rating of 59.1. Field added 46 yards on four carries. He had a great long throw from deep in the pocket. He also took a brutal (and illegal) hit from linebacker Andre Smith.

The Bears open the season in 22 days on NBC, with a primetime game against the Rams in L.A. Even if (as it appears) Nagy will start, it’s possible that Nagy will have a package of plays for the rookie.

32 responses to “Matt Nagy says Andy Dalton will start Week One

  1. Justin fields will be the biggest bust in NFL draft history. Mark it down now. Look at his game vs Northwestern in the big 10 title game to get a gage in this fraud. So called expert analysts love talking about the clemson game while ignoring the northwestern and Alabama games. Biggest fraud to ever take the field

  2. “Even if (as it appears) Nagy will start,…”

    The head coach is the starting Quarterback? Put my money on the Rams.

  3. He also took a brutal (and illegal) hit from linebacker Andre Smith.

    Sorry watch again Fields lowers his head/body and that is why he got hit.
    Stop the video before Smith hits him. He is standing straight and Smith is going to hit him chest high. When Fields lowers his body to absorb the hit, he brings his head to a lower level and gets hit in the head.
    He also didn’t have his helmet strap properly fastened

  4. The hit on Fields was unfortunate. Was it brutal? Yep! Illegal? By rule, yes but far from intentional. No crown was used, he just came in too high. Frankly I’m surprised he didn’t see it coming considering he said the game seemed “slow” to him last week.

  5. Well you don’t wanna ruin the rookie. Yes he has some arm talent and he can run. But he is a rookie. Its gonna take some time. This is a back down to earth game from a week ago when he was riding high. Dalton does give them the best chance to win. And if he keeps them competitive and in the mix then I’m not sure if we’ll see Fields this year. I realize the talking heads keep saying how talented he is but Dalton will give you the steady hand. I think Dalton will get at least 5 or 6 games, regardless of record. If they’re in the mix then he’ll keep starting. If not, find out what Fields has.

  6. Dalton is the safe decision. How that translates into wins is the question.

  7. It doesn’t matter who starts week one. It just means it will be the first person in a body cast after the Rams defense goes past the pylons they call the Bear offensive line.

    Fields didn’t look like the Messiah against 3rd stringers this week. I can wait to hear the excuses on why.

  8. It won’t matter who plays QB if the defense and special teams don’t improve a whole lot. Both of those units were laughably bad today. Slow, undisciplined and unmotivated.

  9. hurmanmerman99 says:
    August 21, 2021 at 6:29 pm
    Justin fields will be the biggest bust in NFL draft history. Mark it down now

    Ugh, what’s with all the hate? There’s so many people rooting for this kid to fail. Why? I thought he looked pretty good today despite the 9-19 line. His receivers dropped a few and he was under duress behind awful O line play.

    Dalton will start week one. He’ll struggle against the Rams behind that awful line and then Nagy will feel the box was checked that he gave Dalton the chance to start and he’ll move on to Fields in Week 2. Mark that down. This O line cannot support a pocket passer. Fields gives them a better chance to win with his mobility.

  10. Anyone with a basic football knowledge knew there was zero chance The Hype would start over the Red Rifle.

  11. When I see the talking heads on ESPN/NFLN drooling over Fields I just SMH. I don’t know what they’re looking at, other then the obvious, his appearance. Dalton is just a way better quarterback at this time and will always be. Fields may be able to turn a sack into a 20 yard gain occasionally but good luck with that in the long run.

  12. Much better for Fields. He’s very raw and doesn’t need to be thrown to the wolves too quickly – especially on Opening Day against a team with a good defense. Would have been foolish to do otherwise.

  13. Fans: We need to start the guy that’s thrown 28 passes in a quarter and a half in preseason.

    Bears fans might want to develop a guy for once.

  14. To do otherwise would mean Pace wasted 10 mil. and Nagy was OK with that.

    Today’s game will be dismissed by the Bear faithful as meaningless preseason balderdash but true fans will see through that baloney on two issues:

    1. Trubisky with a decent o-line and good receivers looked more than competent.

    2. Dalton surrounded by the current O-line and a raw receiver group and still no real running game looked like Mr. 3 and OUT. Foles will be the same and Fields will entertain us with some great scrambling but few wins against good opponents.

  15. mcdeez22 says:
    August 21, 2021 at 7:29 pm
    hurmanmerman99 says:
    August 21, 2021 at 6:29 pm
    Justin fields will be the biggest bust in NFL draft history. Mark it down now

    Ugh, what’s with all the hate? There’s so many people rooting for this kid to fail. Why?

    As a Giants fan, I’m only rooting for him to fail this season, since we have Chicago’s first round pick. After that, he can have a long successful career for all I care.

  16. Well. Matt Nagy has proven unequivocally that he is an idiot. This furthers the point.

  17. Justin Fields is a shorter, smaller, worse version than Cam Newton. Good Luck Bears you just wasted another high pick on a Bust

  18. I can’t wait to watch Nagy pacing the sidelines with his ridiculous visor, clutching desperately to his laminated play card and covering his mouth while acting like he is some kind of offensive genius.

  19. Fields wont start but you dont draft a qb high in yhe draft ane let him bench sit. he will be playing by gane three ir four.

  20. arcross12042004scorp15 says:
    August 21, 2021 at 6:40 pm
    He also took a brutal (and illegal) hit from linebacker Andre Smith.

    Sorry watch again Fields lowers his head/body and that is why he got hit.

    Good lord.

  21. You want to see Nagy get fired quick. He starts fields week 1 against the rams who disquise their defense with the best of them. Fields has no clue how to know NFL blitzes, he has no clue how to audible and doesn’t know sight adjustment and hot routes. Jalen ramsey is just waiting to bait him into all kinds of things. Hes not ready but yes, lets force him out there so he can get crushed.

  22. Fields is not ready to start. He almost lost his head today because he doesn’t know the position well enough to protect himself. Rarely will you see that happen to Rodgers or any other competent quarterback. The penalty should have been on fields for ducking into the hit.

  23. The Buffalo backups absolutely controlled the Chicago starters. You can be upset as a Bears fan but recongnize that the Bills roster is as deep as any I the league.

  24. Our offense will fail as long as Matt Nagy has offensive coordinator duties. And Pace’s offensive line efforts don’t help. Fields will make more mistakes but better scrambles than Red Rifle, but in the end were a 7-win team at best.

  25. Jay Cutler was not high end. Jay was a disaster much like McMahon. It was the other good players around them that made those teams good. I doubt Fields will be any different if he leaves the pocket and runs all the time.

  26. High draft picks usually play, regardless of how well they play. Alex Smith was the overall number one pick. He retired with only two career playoff wins, yet he got opportunities galore because he was a high pick. It took him 4-5 years before he became a game manager. He would have been cut his rookie year if he were a fourth round pick. Andy Dalton has been around forever. He can play in the NFL. Not necessarily at at higher level than the QB’s that win playoff games, but he can get a team lined up. Justin Fields was nothing like Patrick Mahomes in college. Mahomes looked like a smarter version of Brett Favre, where Fields looked like a replica of Russell Wilson physically, but didn’t show any signs whatsoever of a QB who understands anything about the way that position is played in the NFL. In case you’ve missed Tom Brady’s career, the QB position at the NFL level is 95% between the ears. I’m not saying Fields can’t learn. I don’t have the ability to predict what someone can do in the future. But I can say without a doubt that he hasn’t shown anything at this point. Young QB’s take a few years. I’m just saying don’t compare him to Mahomes. Mahomes was NFL ready between the ears from day 1.

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