Who will come hot off the blocks and who will start slow? If Justin Fields comes out hot, and Andy Dalton comes out slow, could Dalton end up starting the year as a backup? Here are three reasons why that should be avoided at all costs, though:
#1 Practice does not make perfect in the NFL
Of course, practice definitely helps players improve and get used to schemes. However, games are very different from running around on an empty field. There is much less pressure and fewer distractions.
While the old adage "you practice how you play" works at times, when learning about the NFL, it is best to learn as much as possible outside of the stadium before stepping into it.
Once one steps onto the field, learning becomes an afterthought when attempting to dodge a 300-pound defensive lineman or win a game in the final seconds. In other words, quiet and calm places are the best places to learn. The longer Fields can stay in a quiet and calm place, the better he will be.
#2 Avoid the risk of an overconfident rookie
Assuming Fields has a perfect pre-season, he will be flying high and feeling like he can make any throw. That could lead to interceptions once the games matter more, and there are more starters present to intercept the ball.
In other words, Fields is expected to be the backup at the start of training camp. This means he will largely be facing second-string players. Meaning, there are throws that could be made against backups that may not be made against starters. That can create bad pre-season habits, which could lead to regular-season losses.
#3 Rookies rarely do well
Regardless of how teams feel about their rookie quarterbacks, the vast majority of rookie quarterbacks struggle in their first seasons. However, there are plenty of examples of quarterbacks who have sat for a while and come in and do well. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are two such notable examples
There are countless such examples that show that a little patience could go a long way for a rookie quarterback to be successful. If the Bears can wait for most of the season before starting Justin Fields, they could reap the rewards for the next few years.