LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Bears coach Matt Nagy was not ready to say who the starting quarterback will be when Chicago hosts the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Veteran Andy Dalton remains the No. 1 signal-caller, with rookie Justin Fields backing him up and Nick Foles in the third spot, Nagy said Wednesday.
But as for who will start this week?
Nagy said that “will be sorted out once we have a clearer picture” on the health of his top two quarterbacks. Both practiced Wednesday, with Dalton (bone bruise in left knee) limited and Fields (right thumb) a full participant.
Nagy would not say, either, if he will continue to call plays on offense.
The Bears (1-2) delivered one of the worst performances ever on that side of the ball by an NFL team in a 26-6 loss at Cleveland last week. They had just 47 yards, the ninth-lowest total in league history and the second worst for the charter franchise.
Fields had a particularly rough time in his first NFL start. The No. 11 overall pick got sacked nine times for 67 yards and threw for just 68 on 6-for-20 passing. He also hurt his thumb in the game.
It was not the sort of outing he was looking for with Dalton sidelined after leaving after a Week 2 win over Cincinnati. But while Nagy insisted nothing has changed “as far as the depth chart,” all sorts of questions remain.
One would be whether the best course of action is to go with Dalton or give Fields a chance to redeem himself against the winless Lions (0-3), assuming both are able to play.
“More than fair question,” Nagy said.
He praised Fields for keeping his composure in a difficult situation. And he insisted he is not worried about letting a poor performance linger in the prized quarterback's mind by not giving him another start.
“No. Because the career he’s about to have and where he’s gonna be, I don’t worry about that,” Nagy said. “There’s about probably four or five things in there that from the quarterback perspective he can learn from. And they’re little things that maybe he hasn’t gone through before, even in preseason, so he’s taking those and he’s stacking those up and he’s gonna use those so that the next time, he can get better.”
Cornerback Jaylon Johnson predicted Fields will do just that.
“I think he’ll bounce back,” he said. “We all believe that. Even everybody in this room, we know the type of person Justin is, the way he looks at football, his competitive nature. For us, there’s no hesitation that he’s gonna keep bouncing back and keep fighting for everything he wants.”
The Bears probably didn't do Fields any favors with a plan that seemed more suited for Dalton, with the quarterback in the pocket rather than on the move. The struggles on the offensive line didn't help, either.
All that did nothing to turn the heat down on Nagy.
Chicago ranks last in the NFL in total offense and passing and 31st in points per game. But if he is handing off play-calling duties, Nagy is “gonna keep that internal.”
He was open when he gave them to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor last November, when the Bears were in the middle of a six-game losing streak. Chicago started to find a rhythm on offense and eventually won three straight on the way to making the playoffs.
In April, Nagy announced he would be calling plays again. But he was tight-lipped on Wednesday and didn't give a clear reason why.
“There’s communication you have on the back end, but then there’s also the ability for us to understand why we don’t get into some of the answers that you’re asking right now,” Nagy said. “That said, whatever is best for this team is what we’re going to do. And every year is probably a little bit different with how you do it.”
NOTE: LB Khalil Mack (foot) did not practice. .. Nagy said the Bears are designating LB Danny Trevathan (knee) to return from injured reserve. He has a three-week practice window before the team has to decide whether to add him to the active roster.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL