On Wednesday, October 6th, 2021, at approximately 12 pm, Bears head coach Matt Nagy named Justin Fields their starting quarterback. It’s not contingent on Andy Dalton’s health, and it’s not temporary. The Fields era has truly begun.
“He’s done everything to show us that he’s ready for this opportunity,” Nagy said when explaining why the team finally decided to hand the offense over to their first-round draft pick.
Nagy also noted this wasn't the plan when the season started, but Dalton’s injury gave Fields the opportunity to start earlier than they expected, and he made the most of it.
“I would say I was a little bit surprised, but I mean, not really crazy surprised,” Fields said. “But definitely a little bit of surprise. I feel like (Nagy) was pretty straightforward with me and Andy. And I think my teammates believe in me, so, just grateful for the opportunity and just trying to get ready to work.”
In particular, Nagy pointed to Fields' bounce back game against the Lions, and big time throws he made to Darnell Mooney as two reasons why they trusted him to take over the offense now. And while the team is still obviously focused on winning, Nagy didn’t discount the importance of prioritizing Fields’ development at the same time.
“We’re so confident in where he’s at, with where Justin’s at, and just continuing to let him grow,” Nagy said. “I think the biggest thing for us is to understand that it’s not going to be perfect. Justin knows that, right? We all understand. There’s going to be some times where things happen, but we’ve got to continue to stay positive.
“He's grown to this point. He's earned it. He's worked hard. And now he has this opportunity.”