Andy Dalton is the Chicago Bears starting quarterback. However, his run as QB1 might not last long.
With Justin Fields waiting in the wings, and fans clamoring him for him to be the team’s starter, there’s a lot of pressure on Dalton to perform at a high level.
That pressure, apparently, isn’t getting to the “Red Rifle,” who told reporters Wednesday he’s going to avoid any thoughts about who is behind him on the depth chart.
“That’s the worst thing you can do, is look over your shoulder,” Dalton said, according to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “So understanding that is key. . . . We’re talking about tuning out the stuff you don’t need to focus on and knowing where you need to put your time and effort and all that kind of stuff. I think that’s just where I’m at. You don’t worry about all the other stuff.”
A good start to Chicago’s season opener against the Los Angeles Rams would be the best way to keep others from looking over Dalton’s shoulder. However, it’s hard to predict what he’ll look like this week.
After Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury in 2020, Dalton took over as the Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback, and he was average. The 33-year-old went 4-5, completing 64.9% of his passes for 2,170 yards and 14 touchdowns against eight interceptions.
Fields, meanwhile, was a standout at Ohio State, leading the Buckeyes to the national championship game last season. He then impressed during training camp and the preseason, going 30-of-49 for 276 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in three preseason games. He also ran for 92 yards and a score.
It’s surprising that Bears head coach Matt Nagy decided to stick with Dalton as his starter, though he could pivot quickly. Fields is one of two rookie quarterbacks, the other being Trey Lance (San Francisco 49ers), that was not named his team’s Week 1 starter.
Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars), Zach Wilson (New York Jets) and Mac Jones (New England Patriots) are all starting for their respective clubs this week. If they impress, it should only push Nagy to eventually start Fields.