Justin Fields 'probably further along than we thought,' Bears coach Matt Nagy says

Justin Fields came into game for injured Andy Dalton

The Chicago Bears may have to accelerate their plans for Justin Fields after all as Andy Dalton was knocked out of Sunday’s game with a knee injury.

Dalton injured his knee on a scramble and tried to come back into the game but couldn’t manage it. Fields was thrust into the game and helped secure the victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-17.

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Fields was 6-for-13 with 60 passing yards and an interception. Fields had 10 carries for 31 yards. Bears coach Matt Nagy appeared to give Fields a vote of confidence after the game.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) carries the ball and is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Chicago.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) carries the ball and is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

"He’s probably further along than we thought he’d be at this point right now. So if that's the case, then we feel good about it, and Justin has worked really, really hard to get to this point. Even today in that moment as a rookie, coming in in that situation, super calm, super cool. Even after the interception when that dropper, he dropped, and the zero look, made the play, he was very cool coming out there and knowing -- to try to make a play," Nagy told reporters.

Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton walks to the locker room with an unidentified trainer during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Chicago.

Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton walks to the locker room with an unidentified trainer during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

"But he's done that his whole career. That doesn't fluster him. That's a strength that he has. We'll see where it goes. Justin has done what we've asked him to do and we feel about with him."

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The Bears could, in theory, put Nick Foles into the starting role as he played a few games for them in 2020. He was 2-5 as a starter with 1,852 passing yards, 10 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. He made the assertion in August that he was "much better than the version that played in the Super Bowl."

It doesn’t seem likely the Bears will start Foles, and if Dalton can’t go in Week 3 he will most likely be the backup quarterback.

Fields acknowledged he has to play a bit better since he’s getting these prime opportunities.

Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles walks off the field after their game against the Buffalo Bills Aug 21, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago. 

Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles walks off the field after their game against the Buffalo Bills Aug 21, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago.  (Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)

"I don't think I'm pleased with how I played at all. You know, I think there's a lot more in me that I have to show, and you know, I know that's going to come with time. I know it's not going to happen overnight," Fields said.

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"So, I'm just going to keep grinding and no matter what happens, I know I'm meant for this and I'm meant to be here. My path here has been crazy. When I was younger, I never thought I would be in this position. I'm here for a reason and I definitely think that I can play better, and I just think that this is the beginning. I'm definitely excited for the future and excited to get back to practice on Monday, Tuesday."