Matt Nagy almost seemed annoyed when asked about the quarterback situation in the moments after Saturday’s preseason affair against the bills.
He only has himself to blame.
Nagy is optimistic the team will move the ball in the regular season with Andy Dalton calling signals. His belief is that the reason they failed to in the preseason was because they were missing key players. That’s fair. The team’s top three wide receivers, two tight ends and running back all played fewer than five snaps. That’s complemented by three backups – one of whom was likely a third-stringer – along the offensive line. It would be hard for any quarterback to have success and none of the best are ever put in these situations in August.
There is more than a decade of evidence telling us that if the Bears are going to have any success with Dalton, they better have the wind at their back. They need all hands on deck and other clichés too. Dalton needs the situation to be perfect. That’s who he is. The Bears should know that.
In practice, Dalton has reportedly looked good when they’ve been near full strength. But most of the fans don’t see practice and the national media doesn’t pay attention to those reports.
Nobody should blame Nagy for sitting the stars; they need them healthy when the games matter. But if he’s that confident that Dalton is going to be the starting quarterback, why not sit him with the starters? All playing Dalton with backups did was anger fans because all they’re seeing is an immobile guy, behind a makeshift line, going three and out repeatedly. How is he supposed to succeed in that scenario?
Maybe Nagy is right. (It could happen.)
Maybe Dalton is the better quarterback right now and that will be proven when the games count.
But if he’s wrong, he should know that’s unnecessarily poked an already-agitated fan base with his handling of the position. Now, the more Dalton fails to move the offense, while Fields shows flashes of rare talent, the louder the boos and calls for the youngster will be. Even if Fields isn’t “ready”, it will be hard for Nagy to avoid the obvious decision.
Don’t hate Dalton. His limitations have been clear since he was at TCU. But that doesn’t mean a team can’t have success with him. They just can’t under these circumstances. Nagy should know that and he shouldn’t be feeding his presumed starting quarterback to the wolves.