Matt Nagy: Bears QB Andy Dalton will continue to start over Justin Fields if healthy

·2-min read

Chicago Bears fans got their first extended look at Justin Fields in the regular season on Sunday. 

If Andy Dalton's healthy next week, they'll have to wait a bit longer to see Fields again — at least as a full-time player.  

Head coach Matt Nagy initially declined on Monday to discuss Dalton's status as a starter. But after leaving the podium, he had a Bears public relations staffer deliver a message, per the Chicago Tribune's Brad Briggs. Dalton will continue to start if he's healthy.

So is Dalton healthy? Nagy said that he didn't suffer an ACL injury, and he'll undergo further testing later Monday. Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, initial testing reveals that he suffered a bone bruise

Will Dalton be ready to play next week?

So it sounds like Dalton escaped serious injury, but his status for next Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns is up in the air for now. Dalton left Sunday's win over the Cincinnati Bengals with a non-contact injury after planting on his left knee at the end of a run. He left the game for a series and briefly returned before Fields replaced him and played the entire second half. 

Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton, left, and Justin Fields warm up before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Andy Dalton is still Chicago's starter, per Matt Nagy. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Fields didn't exactly make an unassailable case for the starting job in his appearance, completing 6-of-13 pass attempts for 60 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. He also ran 10 times for 31 yards and took two sacks for 25 yards. 

But Chicago held on for a 20-17 win. And the Bears didn't trade up in the first round to draft Fields as a backup quarterback. How much longer will he sit behind Dalton before Nagy hands over the reins? And if Dalton can't go next week and Fields impresses against Browns, what then?

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