Chicago Bears: No Surprises Expected as Matt Nagy Sticks to His Plan

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Justin Fields is the Chicago Bears starting quarterback, per the plan laid out by his head coach, Matt Nagy. Unfortunately for everyone anxious to see it, his initial run with the ones will come in a “meaningless” preseason game. He’ll also face off against the Tennessee Titans with few other Bears starters around him. That includes an offensive line that is still trying to get healthy.

That this will also be Fields’ last start for a while if Nagy has his way likely doesn’t sit well with a fanbase starving for a stud at quarterback. But, again, it’s all part of Nagy’s “plan”. It may be the only part that we can even say we fully understand, even if we don’t agree.

Matt Nagy Has Stuck to his Plan for Fields, Bears Heading Into the Regular Season

Okay, But…

His patented coach speak reared its head when he spoke of needing to see Week 1 starter Andy Dalton in the regular season before making a determination on his longevity. This after saying that’s what the second week of the preseason would be for.

Dalton went a mediocre 11-17 for 146 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was not terrible but nothing to write home about and clearly limited.

Fields was just 9-of-19 for 80 yards, had 46 yards on four carries, and absorbed one vicious hit.

Worst of all, they were both outplayed by former Bears starter Mitchell Trubisky. His head coach and offensive coordinator put him in a position to succeed; something Nagy didn’t always do. That was a (really) bad look but one preseason game (or even the entire exhibition season in some cases) mean anything in terms of results. 

The problem is the offense looked as rough as it ever has. Their defense got cut up by Trubisky doing the things they know he’s good at. We’ll hold off passing judgment on rookie defensive coordinator Sean Desai, but he will have to adjust much better and faster.

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Same But Different

However, citing his time in Kansas City, Nagy explained his level of faith in the offense finally clicking and why he thinks they’ll come around.

“We saw that in Kansas City because it took a few years, not just the players that were coming in and were drafted but the scheme — them learning it and understanding it. After three or four years, it really started picking up and going. I feel like we’re at that spot right now. We’ve got some guys now that have been on this team for two, three, four years, and they know the offense as well as I do, where that wasn’t the case two or three years ago.”

Nagy continued expressing his belief in the guys on this roster.

“We’ve got more of those guys, so when you have that and you have a guy like Andy and these quarterbacks that come in and understand it, that’s where it gives me the confidence. Now we’ve got to go do (it). We know that, of course. But it gives me the confidence knowing the offensive line, these tight ends that we’ve got, the wide receivers—there are a couple new ones, but they’re doing well — and then Andy and the quarterbacks in general, the running backs, it’s a really good foundation now in my opinion. That’s why I feel good about it.”

That sounds good except the Chiefs were starting Alex Smith who had already been in the system for four years. Dalton spent last year in Dallas and the year before in Cincinnati. You could argue his connection with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor could make up for the gap there. But he doesn’t even call plays (at this point) and hasn’t worked with Dalton since 2018.

Also, how did having a connection to the coaches work out for Nick Foles? He’s now looking at extended playing time on Saturday as the third-string quarterback.

The Way It Is

This is the path the Bears will take until forced to go in another direction as Nagy said he will evaluate who the Bears starter will be based on Dalton’s play, not that of Fields. If he struggles with everyone healthy, the switch to the rookie will come well before next year. 

Week 4 versus Detroit would be a nice, soft landing spot for Fields to make his regular-season debut. Chicago heads to Las Vegas after that giving them a chance to stack positive weeks for Fields. If not then, they run the risk of having to throw him to the wolves as they face a gauntlet of fierce pass rushes from Week 6 through Week 10 until they face Detroit again in Week 11.

Players will be fighting for roster spots this weekend but most Bears fans will have one thing on their minds.

When will Justin Fields take over?

It is inevitable. But having one of the toughest schedules and a ton of injuries on the offensive line gave Nagy all the cover he needed to stick to his plan so far.

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