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Will Justin Fields start for Bears in Week 2? Matt Nagy explains QB plans moving forward

Justin Fields didn’t just take the field on “Sunday Night Football” in his NFL debut. The first-round rookie was also the only Bears quarterback to score a touchdown against the Rams, capping Chicago’s longest drive of the evening with a read-option run. Now, the question is: What happens next? Andy Dalton was serviceable but unspectacular in the Bears’ 20-point loss to Los Angeles, so is it possible Fields will get the call in Week 2? Could coach Matt Nagy actually turn the keys over to the first-year signal-caller for Chicago’s home opener against the Bengals?

As of now, that doesn’t seem likely. Addressing reporters after Sunday night’s Week 1 loss, Nagy said the Bears entered the game with a specific plan for Fields and executed that plan; the former Ohio State standout threw two passes and ran once as situational relief for Dalton. But Nagy doesn’t necessarily seem pressured to put Fields on the field significantly more, let alone on a full-time basis.

 “He did a great job,” Nagy said. He’s a weapon for us. He obviously made a helluva run … The times that he got in there, he did well … (and) we’ll continue to keep growing with that stuff.”

Nagy added that certain factors — like the Bears trailing by so much and/or being forced to run the two-minute offense — likely limited Fields’ snaps against the Rams. That, along with the fact Chicago is using Fields in any scenario, would seem to suggest the staff believes the rookie QB is ready for real-game action. Why else would the rookie be getting more snaps in the event the Bears were closer to pulling off the upset against Los Angeles on Sunday night?

Still, for all the reasons — justified or not — that Dalton entered 2021 as the designated QB1, all indications are that the longtime Bengals veteran will remain under center going into Week 2, with Fields likely sprinkled in once again as a complementary piece. The more snaps Fields takes, however, the more Nagy and Co. will likely be confronted with the reality that their backup QB isn’t just the team’s bigger long-term investment at QB, but also the more gifted QB of the present.

In the meantime, Fields is content putting the team and its QB decisions first.

“However my role plays out,” he said after the game, “I’m going to be here for the team. Whatever this team and Coach Nagy need me to do to help us win, I’m going to do.”

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