Which quarterback starts Sunday for the Chicago Bears?
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy "can't definitely say" who his starting quarterback will be against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. ET.
The Bears' roller-coaster continues to turn. Coach Matt Nagy has already started two quarterbacks in 2021 through three games — Andy Dalton and Justin Fields.
Now, whether either of them will start in Week 4 is an open question.
Bears coach Matt Nagy "can't definitely say" who his starting quarterback will be on Sunday, Oct. 3, against the Detroit Lions (kick-off 1 p.m. ET), as he explained in his Monday press conference.
Coach Nagy’s quarterback decision process so far
At the beginning of the NFL season, coach Matt Nagy made it clear that 33-year-old Dalton, who signed with the Bears from the Cowboys in mid-March, would be the starting quarterback. However, on Sunday of the week two game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Nagy’s hands were tied when Dalton suffered a knee injury during the game.
Fields, the 22-year-old QB rookie, played in the second half of the game, and a few days later, Nagy announced that Fields will would start at quarterback Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
And he did.
Justin Fields: Nine Sacks and an injured hand
The performance we saw in that game from him was not what anyone had expected, especially with all the anticipation over how the youngster Fields would do in his first full official NFL game. Hopes were high that Fields, the Ohio State grad drafted by the Bears with the 11th overall pick in this year's draft, would deliver a decent, if not outstanding, performance last Sunday.
For a quarterback of this caliber, getting sacked nine times by the Cleveland Browns and losing 6-26 was a brutal wake up call for Fields, Nagy and the Bears. Fields left the game with a slight injury to his throwing hand he picked up against the aggressive Browns’ defense.
Andy Dalton and Nick Foles breakdown
What we know about Dalton is that he’s still recovering from his knee injury. Many around the NFL could anticipate that he will be the one who starts week four if his knee is healed enough for him to play. Just looking at Sunday’s game against the Browns, we know that the offense with Fields looked less effective and less organized than with Dalton. However, since Dalton’s injury is considered week-to-week, we cannot jump into to any conclusions about his injury timetable.
We also know that 32-year-old Nick Foles, who served as the team's third-string quarterback to begin the season, has yet to play. 2018 Super Bowl winner he may be, but even though he is “fully healthy”, it doesn’t seem like there’s much chance of Nagy considering starting him in week four. "We know where Nick's at, health-wise [not injured], but we just want to keep an eye on Justin and Andy," Nagy said.
Two Scenarios for week 4 Bears’ QB decision
With all that said, we can’t tell who Nagy will start against the Lions on Sunday until we know more about Dalton’s injury report. But we’re entertaining two possible scenarios: one where Fields is given a second chance after his woeful debut, and another where Dalton heals quickly enough to reclaim his starting spot.
Scenario one is ideal for Fields to prove to the NFL world that he’s the quarterback people bet on, but might also generate mixed feelings for what’s best for the Bears. It is no secret to Fields, or to anyone else who heard Nagy’s response to the Bears’ Sunday loss, that Nagy is still showing trust in him. "I think that Justin handled everything really well. I think he did a really good job of staying calm and composed with the sacks that he took. "He never once got frustrated or angry and that's tough in that situation and I'm proud of him for that," said Nagy.
Scenario two could be the more attractive option for the Bears, as Dalton can bring back their spark and also give Fields some more time to learn his routines from the sidelines. What’s even more positive about this scenario is that the 22-year-old would have the opportunity to properly prepare himself before he gets back out on the field. After all, Fields has a whole career ahead of him and he already knows he's the up and coming prospect quarterback, so waiting just a little longer is not going to hurt him, even if he’s impatient to get out there.
Matt Nagy: under consideration
Nagy might not know which of his three quarterbacks will start week four against the Detroit Lions. But what he does know is that if he does not shape up his offense in Sunday’s Bears vs Lions, he himself will also be under consideration.