Justin Fields made his pre-season debut for the Chicago Bears against the Miami Dolphins and has given Chicago faithful hope.

Using both his legs and his arm, Justin Fields looked as good as advertised. Even LeBron James took to Twitter calling Fields “SPECIAL.” The Chicago Bears would beat the Miami Dolphins 20-13, and after the game, Fields made it clear he isn’t lacking any confidence. 

In most cases, these are the types of comments that put a bullseye on your back and set you up to eat crow. NFL veterans are always looking for bulletin-board material, especially coming from a rookie who’s never played a regular-season game. In looking at the bigger picture, however, these comments from Justin fields shouldn’t be surprising.

The Bears Defense

While the Bear’s defense wasn’t quite as dominant last season, they still finished the year ranked 14th overall. Plenty tough enough for a first-year rookie to practice against. And with a front seven consisting of players like Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Roquan Smith, and Danny Trevathan to go along with a (still) decent secondary, it’s no wonder the speed of the NFL isn’t overwhelming Justin Fields.

Of course, these comments will only add more fuel to the fire regarding who Chicago should open the season with as the starting quarterback. Reportedly, when the Bears signed Andy Dalton this off-season, they promised him that he’d start week one. To this point, the Bears have held firm that Dalton will be their opening day starter. However, if Fields continues to flash in the pre-season, the Bears may be forced to make a move sooner than later.

Assuming the Bears still do start Dalton week one against the Rams, they have a perfect window to start Fields without doing Dalton dirty.

The Three Strikes Plan

I believe the Bears could start Andy Dalton for the first three weeks of the season, and bench him for Fields in week four.

The reason being is quite simple when you think about it.

The Rams ended the 2020 season with the number one ranked defense lead by Aaron Donald. They finished with 53 sacks (second in the league), the best passing defense, and Aaron Donald won his third Defensive Player of the Year trophy. The Rams lost some key players in the secondary, but their pass rush, for the most part, stayed intact and is bound to cause Chicago’s 28th ranked offensive line some problems. Quite frankly, Aaron Donald alone could force Andy Dalton to spend the majority of the game on his backside. Nonetheless, barring a shocking turn of events, the Bears will leave week one with a bad loss under Dalton.

In week two, the Bears will host the Bengals in what will be known as Dalton’s revenge game. The Bears know what that game means for Dalton and won’t react too harshly to a bad week one outing. The tides will shift in the Bear’s favor thanks to (in large part) their pass rush and the Bengal’s moribund offensive line. The Bears should be able to dominate this game and leave week two with a victory. If they don’t, however, Dalton might not make it to week three as the starter.

Finally, in week three, the Bears will go to Cleveland the face the Browns. I predict it’ll be a repeat of week one, and Dalton will be consistently harassed by the Brown’s front seven. The Bears will leave week three 1-2 with two bad losses under Dalton as the starter.

Detroit and Vegas

Thanks to pressure from the fans and Bears management, the coaching staff will need to switch it up at quarterback. Fields is a mobile threat that could buy time behind a poor offensive line, while Dalton spent the first three weeks on his back. I predict that Matt Nagy will name Fields the start against rebuilding Detroit and then the following week against the Las Vegas Raiers… get it? Cause the Raiders don’t play any “D”!

On a serious note, if the Bears plan on starting Fields, there won’t be a better time. After their game against the Raiders, the only teams they play who didn’t finish top 15 in sacks are the Lions and Vikings. So if the Bears hope to ease Justin Fields into regular-season action, this is their best plan. Throw Andy Dalton to the Wolves against the Rams, let him have his revenge game against the Bengals, and then throw him to the Wolves again in Cleveland. From week four on, this team should belong to Justin Fields.

Follow me on Twitter @KENDRlCKS and check out more NFL related articles by the Belly Up Sports team
About Author

Kendrick Lindsay

Growing up in a single-parent household came with its perks and downsides. Perk, I became very close to my mother. The downside, she wasn't a sports watcher. It wasn't until I was 15 years old that I was introduced to the world of sports/sports media. That's when I truly fell in love with it all. And it wasn't the X's and O's that won me over, it was the deep-rooted stories of the business, the athletes, and the ever so changing nature of sports that intrigued me. As a recent college graduate and Communications major, I hope to put my imprint on the sports media world.

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