It took some clarification on Monday, but Andy Dalton is still your starting quarterback一 if healthy. The news was relayed by Bears PR, 10 minutes after Nagy’s press conference concluded.
To give you a full picture, here’s the timeline of Nagy’s confirmation that Dalton will still be QB1.
After Sunday’s game:
Reporter: Is Andy Dalton the starter if he’s healthy?
Nagy: I’m not going to get into that. I’m not going to get into that.
Monday morning press conference:
Reporter: If Andy is healthy, is he your starter?
Nagy: If Andy is healthy, is he your starter? That’s something that I’m not going to get into with scheme.
Reporter: That’s not scheme.
Nagy: Of course it is. That’s 100% scheme. That’s 100% scheme.
If Nagy had left it there, it would be understandable. It keeps the Browns guessing, and in a league where every tiny little edge counts, making Cleveland prepare for two quarterbacks gives the Bears a tiny edge.
But then came the clarification 10 minutes later. A PR representative from the Bears returned to the media workroom at Halas Hall to relay a message from Nagy, that yes, Dalton will be the starter if healthy.
However that doesn’t really clear much up, because we still don’t know whether or not Dalton will be healthy enough to play next week. Nagy did confirm that Dalton didn’t suffer a torn ACL, but beyond that they’re still awaiting test results to determine the severity of his knee injury.
So then why the late update? Did he truly misunderstand the question that was asked of him twice? Is he trying to protect Dalton, or maybe protect The Plan?
By adding the caveat, Dalton’s the starter if healthy, maybe the Bears give themselves an out to re-insert Dalton back into the starting role if Fields struggles? Nagy said they’ve discussed that possibility, because they discussed every possibility when formulating their plan. But that hardly seems like an ideal way of onboarding Fields as an NFL starter. One would have to assume they’d like to avoid making Fields the guy, then turning around a few games later to relegate him back to backup duties.
For now we’re left to take things at face value. If healthy, Dalton is still the Bears’ starter. If not, Fields will be the man. Beyond that, we’ll have to wait and see what the plan has in store for the two QBs.