Justin Fields being the week one starter kickstarts his development

May 15, 2021; Lake Forest, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes the ball to running back Khalil Herbert (24) during rookie minicamp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

All offseason, the Chicago Bears have consistently said that Andy Dalton will be the team’s starter to open the 2021 regular season against the Los Angeles Rams on primetime television. On Monday morning, a new report emerged from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, saying that “they’re not going to just sit him just for fun or posterity”.

Fowler’s words convey one simple meaning: The Bears are leaving the door open for Fields to start week one and every game after that. Fields would then become just the second Bears quarterback since Jay Cutler in 2009 to start every regular season game in his first year with the team.

Over the last month, head coach Matt Nagy has continued to insist that Dalton will be the starter, with a plan in place to develop Fields.

“As we work through with Justin and where he’s at with this offense, we know it’s going to take a little bit of time here this offseason and as we get into training camp,” Nagy said via the Bears official Youtube page. “Andy is the starter. Andy is going to get the 1 reps.”

Starting Fields week one doesn’t just mean the 11th overall pick was the better quarterback. What it means is that Fields is ahead of where he needs to be in terms of his NFL development, which would kickstart his career.

Chicago’s anticipated plan was to have Fields sit for a few games before letting him takeover midseason. Don’t shelve the idea of Dalton being the starter week one but every report out of rookie minicamp suggested Fields was ahead of where he needed to be in terms of being an NFL starter.

While at Ohio State, Fields showed why he was considered to be one of the top QB prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. A dual-threat quarterback who can hit any throw on the field or make players with his legs, Fields has consistently lived up to expectations while being labeled a pro-ready quarterback.

The Bears QB situation was interesting the moment Fields was drafted. With Fowler’s report as of Monday morning, the Bears don’t have a surefire week one starter but the state of the QB position just got so much more interesting in Chicago.