Is QB Andy Dalton the starting QB in 2021?
By: Jeremy Trottier
The Chicago Bears have had quite the offseason so far, moving pieces all over the place between additions and removals. With the drafting of Justin Fields, and the signing of Andy Dalton for a relatively decent amount, the debate for starting QB has begun. Most would expect Fields to start right away as he was taken early in this years draft, however that may not be the case immediately.
In this article, I will be going over three reasons as to why Andy Dalton should be the Bears starting quarterback in 2021.
Fields needs time to develop
A lot of people think throwing a QB straight into the game will work every time, or at least will work in their case. First off, Fields is a phenomenal quarterback from what we have seen, I cannot deny that in the slightest. However, taking a year to develop NFL tendencies and learn from the coaches in the building as well as learn the Bears’ scheme and offense would definitely benefit him in the long run.
We have seen this work out before, the primary example being with the Kansas City Chiefs letting Patrick Mahomes develop behind Alex Smith for a bit. Or even Justin Herbert behind Tyrod Taylor, despite only being a few weeks. Having Andy Dalton and Nick Foles around, two veteran QBs who have seen it all in a sense, to teach you the ins and outs of this next step would do wonders.
Chicago is not ready yet
This one is pretty self-explanatory, Chicago is not ready for a deep playoff push yet, potentially not a playoff push at all if they underperform. Even if Fields were to start, there’s no guarantee whatsoever that he can take them to the playoffs in his rookie campaign. Therefore risking the compromise of his health just to give him experience is not the brightest idea in the book.
With their coaching and GM situation also really on the brink of collapsing, the worst case scenario is Fields takes the field year one and has a coaching change after one year. Or even worse, he does not have enough to start yet and that gets the coach and GM fired because he underperforms year one. The best and most suitable scenario for Fields is to sit a year, let the Bears do whatever they do this year while he learns the playbook and scheme, and let the front office get cleaned out if it needs to be.
Andy Dalton can at least break Fields in
If the Bears do not heed this advice and start Fields in the first year, at least they should let Dalton break Fields in. What I mean by that is 50:50 split the season, starting Dalton for the first half of the year and Fields for the second half. Following the lines of what Miami did last year with Tua Tagovailoa and Ryan Fitzpatrick, where they just got Tua playing time while not rushing him in full time.
This knowledge of how to play in an NFL game and how to handle that pressure may do Fields some good, as it will make him work even harder in the next offseason to prepare once he knows what it is like. They cannot make the same mistake they make with Mitchell Trubisky, despite him and Fields being vastly different QBs.