Matt Nagy caused quite a Twitter storm on Tuesday in two separate interviews discussing the Bears' QB1 and QB2 roles. First was a podcast with Cris Collinsworth that was picked apart and pored over by fans trying to parse Nagy’s intended meaning. For the utmost clarity I’ve included the question and full quote.
Collinsworth: Is there a possible scenario where Justin Fields plays on opening night?
Nagy: No, I mean Andy is our starter. Again, I can’t predict anything. You know how it goes. There’s so many things that can happen in between today and Week 1, but Andy is our starter and Justin’s our No. 2, and we’re going to stick to this plan. You always hope that nothing happens to Andy, in terms of injuries or anything like that, and that’s why I can’t say 100%, because we don’t know what’s going to happen. Hopefully everything is good there. But Andy is where we want him to be, he’s had a great OTAs and we’re just going to continue to build that and stick to where we’re at and just let Justin do his thing in training camp and preseason. We’ll literally, as we go, just continue to just do everything we can to make sure Justin is the best quarterback he can be. Then we just gotta, in a perfect world, we’re continuing to win games with Andy, and Justin is developing and getting better and better. Then it just goes to, we’ll know when the time is right and when it’s ready for the team and for us to put him in. It will all just naturally happen. I truly feel confident about that. I don’t think we have to force somebody in there, just naturally it will be organic, and it’s going to be best for the Bears. That’s in the end what this is all about.
Got all that?
In case you’re still confused about the pecking order, Nagy was asked to clarify his comments following Tuesday’s first day of mandatory minicamp, specifically if he ever promised Dalton that he would be the starter for Week 1.
“No, I would say, as we all know, promises can get pretty crazy but what we told Andy is that he’s our starter and he knows that,” Nagy said. “That’s what Justin knows, that’s what Nick knows, the rest of our coaches and we tell these guys knowing that there’s gotta be a start, right? So, that’s where we’re at.
“There were no promises but we told him and I specifically told him, ‘You’re our starter.’ You know? That’s that. And now when you’re in Andy’s role, when you’re Justin’s role, when you’re in Nick’s role, they know their roles and now it’s their job to be able to be the best quarterback they can be. I’ll just be very clear: That being said, does that mean that these guys aren’t competing? Absolutely not. They’re competing. They wanna be the best and they wouldn’t want each other to be any different. That’s the answer to that.”
Unsatisfied with the answer, one media member pressed Nagy to clarify whether that meant Fields cannot win the starting job before Week 1.
“Whether it’s clarification that he can’t win it? Yes, correct. Andy Dalton is our starter and when we go through this process, like I said today, just calling a play in the huddle, and that gets to the instant gratification part that we all want, right? I understand that. Andy understands that. Justin understands that. Nick understands that. Our coaches understand that we all get excited about Justin Fields. We’d all be lying if we said something different. With that said, we’re excited about Andy Dalton too. And we know that if we stick to this plan that we have, that everything is going to be just fine and that’s where like these type of questions, being able to explain as we go, because let’s face it, when you go through OTAs, when you go through training camp, when you go through preseason the only goal that we have is to put the best quarterback out there and Andy Dalton is our starter. Justin is our No. 2 and Nick is our No. 3 and we’re gonna play that out and make sure that they’re all competing and that’s as simple as that.”