No reason to bury the lede.
If Justin Fields were the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears from Week One, I would predict this team to win 9-10 games and make the playoffs. But he’s not the starting quarterback. And that prediction is impossible to make.
What Would Starting Fields Do?
This team’s offensive line will not be as bad as many predict, but the unit is still one of the most flawed on the roster. They’ll struggle to run the ball against bigger, more physical interiors. They’ll struggle on the edge against speedier rushers. With Dalton, that means no run game. With Dalton, that means sacks.
With Fields, it doesn’t. The optimum word for a player like Fields is extend. He’ll extend drives with that casual six-yard scramble on third-and-four. That’s three more plays; three more opportunities for big plays; ten more minutes of rest for the defense. Fields will also extend plays with his mobility. That’ll keep edge rushers more worried about contain than crash.
Fields at quarterback would see the offense jump 8-10 spots in every statistical category of note. He would still make plenty of mistakes. He would still turn it over a bunch. But a serious production increase would come with those errors.
And the Bears are starting Andy Dalton.