The Chicago Bears predictably lost their opening game to the Los Angeles Rams. Sean McVay's team cruised to a comprehensive victory, and that forced the Bears to face the music.
The Bears endured a strange preseason as Matt Nagy fought off shouts for Justin Fields. The former Ohio State Buckeye is in his rookie year as a Bear after GM Ryan Pace traded up to draft him.
Which quarterback should start for the Chicago Bears?
Fields is the future of the Chicago Bears. That is not up for debate. But Bears fans are getting restless, and they want the exciting rookie to step in and start.
Andy Dalton started the Bears opening game, and he had a typical Andy Dalton game. The Red Rifle dinked and dunked to no avail as the Bears' offense couldn't pierce the Rams' defense.
Dalton battled all game. Matt Nagy tried all game to scheme up effective plays, none of which mattered. The Rams swatted the Bears aside. As the Bears come home from the west coast, the noise to start Fields will grow even louder. The shores of Lake Michigan may reverberate as Bears fans make their case.
Matt Nagy has a decision to make for the Bears' Week 2 game against the Bengals. Who should start, Andy Dalton or Justin Fields?
The case for Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton is a veteran quarterback boasting tons of experience and excellent leadership qualities. Those traits are vital in the early phases of Fields' development and for the Chicago Bears.
Furthermore, the Bears are in trouble on offense. Their rushing attack was non-existent against the Rams. Nagy's team posted 41 rushing yards. Unless your quarterback is Patrick Mahomes, that number is not good enough.
The lack of a running game forces the Bears to become a short-strike quick offense. Dalton averaged 2.1 seconds per throw. They tried to negate the Rams' fearsome pass rush, but the Bears limited themselves on offense in doing so. When Dalton played for the Bengals, A.J. Green and Marvin Jones could make plays after catching the ball.
The Bears receivers can't generate plays after catching the ball. The lack of arm strength and power in Dalton's game means they can't push the ball downfield.
There is one caveat amongst all of this. The Bears are in a rebuilding phase. They are not Superbowl contenders in 2021. With a non-existent running game, patchwork offensive line, and a lack of top-tier weapons, Dalton is the only suitable quarterback for the Bears.
The case for Justin Fields
Fields is an exciting rookie that fans are desperate to see. Bears fans have been hungry for three decades to find a franchise quarterback. Fields is the latest player they will anoint as the savior.
Fields played well in the preseason. He even suggested that the game was slow for him. The quarterback did take the field for the Bears on Sunday night. He even scored a touchdown on a zone-read run. Fields' two passes looked fine, although such a small sample size is tough to analyze.
Bears fans want him on the field because he is the future. But that is precisely the reason the Bears must protect him from a difficult situation against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. The Bengals defensive front seven harassed the Vikings' offensive line.
The Bengals notched three sacks and plenty of pressure on Kirk Cousins. Throwing Fields to the wolves behind a makeshift offensive line is foolhardy. Yes, Fields can push the ball downfield. He is a more dynamic playmaker and can make things happen with his legs.
However, none of that matters if he constantly faces pressure. The Bears are not going anywhere with or without Fields under center. It is best to wait it out and stick with Dalton. Matt Nagy spoke glowingly about Fields' contribution in the defeat, but he declined to elaborate on what may happen in Week 2.
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