The Chicago Bears said this week that Andy Dalton will still be their starting quarterback when healthy, but the veteran is not going to play on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. The team has not given a timetable for Dalton’s return from his knee injury, and we can probably expect that theme to continue.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on “Get Up!” Thursday that he believes the Bears will hold Dalton out again in Week 4 if rookie Justin Fields plays well in a winning effort on Sunday. Matt Nagy, who was with the Kansas City Chiefs when Patrick Mahomes rode the bench for a season, had been committed to starting Dalton all season. Schefter thinks the Bears will remain vague with Dalton’s knee injury to give themselves flexibility.
.@AdamSchefter on Justin Fields getting the start in Chicago:
"That was the plan here, that Justin Fields would sit on the bench, hopefully, preferably for the whole season. … They're sticking to that right now saying that Andy Dalton will be the guy once he's healthy." pic.twitter.com/MesXVEzYLZ
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) September 23, 2021
Dalton suffered a non-contact knee injury while scrambling in last week’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Tests revealed no structural damage. The 33-year-old is dealing with a bone bruise, which can be very painful. The recovery timeline for the injury also varies.
Bears fans have made it clear for weeks that they want Fields to start. It will be almost impossible for Nagy to send the first-round pick back to the bench if both he and the team play well. The Bears had already been planning to expand Fields’ role, and he now has a chance to prove he is ready to lead the team.