CHICAGO (CBS) — With Andy Dalton still nursing a knee injury he suffered against the Bengals, prized Bears rookie Justin Fields will get the start at quarterback against the Browns on Sunday.
“Justin is going to be our starter,” Bears coach Matt Nagy told reporters on Wednesday.READ MORE: FBI: Remains Found In Florida Park Are Brian Laundrie’s
If you’ve watched how Fields handles himself, it’s not surprising how he took the news he’ll be making his first NFL start.
“He was pretty stoic,” Nagy said. “I think you guys can probably all imagine how he was. He’s a guy that has a lot of confidence in himself in a good way. It rubs off onto his teammates, to his coaches. You feel it, you understand it, you appreciate it. He was pretty stoic.”
Fields said he already had a pretty good idea he could start on Sunday, given Dalton’s injury, and said he’ll be better prepared than usual now that he’ll be practicing with the starting offense instead of the practice unit. He said he knows his teammates have a lot of faith in him.
“Them having my back and having confidence in me that I’m going to go out there and execute, that’s kept me comfortable and kept me poised and confident,” he said.
Apparently Justin Fields calm demeanor is real all the time. When told he was going to be the starter, "he was pretty stoic" according to Matt Nagy. #Bears
— Matt Zahn (@mattzahnsports) September 22, 2021
Fields said he hasn’t always had such a cool and collected demeanor. He said he used to get very nervous before starts in high school. But at some point, the switch flipped.
“I used to not be this way. I definitely learned from past experiences, past first starts. I still remember my first start in high school, I was nervous as can be. I think being more this way — just being stoic and being even-keeled — just keeps my mind calm and allows me to think more.”READ MORE: Kenosha County Sheriff's Deputy Shoots Chicago Homicide Suspect At Bristol Gas Station; Suspect Shot Police K-9 During Confrontation
And Fields isn’t worried about trying to prove that he should remain the starting quarterback the rest of the season.
“Every time I go in, I have that mindset. Of course I’m going to play my best and try to win. That’s my main focus. My main focus isn’t winning the starting job. I think that’s going to come with time,” he said.
Matt Nagy emphasized that when Andy Dalton is healthy, he’s the starting quarterback, saying it’s as simple as that. Justin Fields will try to complicate things starting this Sunday in Cleveland.
Dalton exited this past Sunday’s game against the Bengals in the second quarter after suffering a bone bruise to his knee.
Taking over with a 7-0 lead, Fields leaned on the Bears’ excellent defensive performance to lead the Bears to a 20-17 win.
Fields, the No. 11 overall draft pick, completed 6 of 13 passes for 60 yards, and ran for 31 more yards.
Dalton, facing his former team for the second time in as many seasons, completed 9 of 11 passes for 56 yards, including a touchdown pass to Allen Robinson.MORE NEWS: NOAA Releases 2021-2022 Winter Outlook
Dalton was hurt late in the second quarter. He took some warmup throws at halftime, but did not return to the game.