The Chicago Bears will start rookie Justin Fields on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
He replaces veteran Andy Dalton, who suffered a knee injury in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2.
Most fans wanted Fields to start anyway, so Dalton’s injury, though not expected to be season-ending, is a great excuse for the Bears to start the rookie.
The Bears franchise hasn’t had a signal caller with Fields’ talent …well, ever.
Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace don’t like to deviate from the plan too much, so they’ll try to convince themselves that Dalton should start again once healthy, just to prove that they made the right choice giving him $10 million to essentially babysit for a season.
Fields will be the fourth rookie signal-caller to start this season, joining Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars), Zach Wilson (Jets) and Mac Jones (Patriots.)
Justin Fields with an absolute dime. pic.twitter.com/6CK4DK0uFI
— Bears Talk (@TheBearsTalk) September 21, 2021
Niners rookie Trey Lance saw game action in Week 1 but remains the backup behind Jimmy Garoppolo.
Bears Can Field The Energy
The Chicago Bears are a bordeline playoff team with a good defense and solid pieces offensively. The stories franchise hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1985 and could really make some things happen if Fields is finally the answer at the quarterback position.
Fields gives them a much better opportunity for long-term success than Dalton.
Fields was thought of as the second-best prospect behind Lawrence entering the draft, but somehow those projections quickly vanquished.
What followed was a character assassination attempt similar to what most high profile African-American quarterback prospects experience.
Rumors of a lackluster work ethic, and some apparent inability to move off his first read, sullied Fields’ draft prospects.
Both rumors were totally inaccurate and that false narrative was put to rest in the preseason, but not before inferior players like Zach Wilson leapfrogged him on draft night.
He slipped to the No.11 pick overall, and the football gods shined down on the Chicago Bears, who are still the only team in NFL history not to have a 4,000-yard passer in a season.
With the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, #DaBears (via NYG) select Justin Fields.
Our number 2 overall player drops outside the top 10. pic.twitter.com/t0BDYPLiOG
— Boom or Bust: The Draft Show (@BoomOrBustDraft) April 30, 2021
Former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez made some interesting comments about Fields on “The Pat McAfee Show” about a memory-based pre-draft test Fields excelled on, the Athletic Intelligence Quotient.
“The guy who supposedly can’t go through his reads …. Doesn’t have great work ethic, all this bogus stuff .. He scored the highest ever on this test,” Sanchez mentioned as one of Fields’ many skills.
Trubisky: “I’ll have to go back and watch the film.”
Justin Fields: pic.twitter.com/cELk5t5BmX
— Max Markham (@MaxMarkhamNFL) September 20, 2021
While top prospects of recent years like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen tended to perform well on this test, Fields blew both of them away and scored the highest in the history of the test among more than 6,500 pro athletes, Sanchez claimed in his April appearance on the show.
That’s not all.
During the preseason Fields looked the most NFL-ready out of the five first-round QBs drafted.
He flashed a unique dual-threat ability that we’ve seen since his days in high school, then at UGA and Ohio State.
Fields possesses supreme athleticism which allows him to buy time with his legs. And while that won’t always work at the NFL level, his mobility allows him to play outside the structure.
1. People easily miss what made Justin Fields' 10-yard scramble for the game-sealing 1st so great.
The broken tackle was one thing, but it was his awareness to get on the ground inbounds to keep the clock moving.
To have that presence of mind as a rookie? It's rare.#Bears pic.twitter.com/UP8aJoU4Ca
— Erik Lambert (@ErikLambert1) September 20, 2021
This allows for off-schedule plays and big plays downfield as defenses can’t prepare for that type stuff.
The Bears have traditionally been a run-first culture, but that’s sure to change with Fields’ ability to make plays beyond his first read.
Nagy is suppose to be a bright mind as an offensive coach, so one would think playing Fields should allow him to really open up the playbook and use the entire field.
A guy with 4.4 speed a strong and accurate arm, and toughness should do wonders for an otherwise stale and mundane offense.
The Justin Fields Era begins on Sunday. If nothing else, the defense should be happy because the offense will improve. Particularly in the red zone and with clock control.