Bears Insider

Tyson Bagent plans to become ‘more dynamic' for Bears after whirlwind rookie season

Tyson Bagent showed a lot during a four-week stretch as starter, but he believes there are more levels he can reach

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Life is much different for Tyson Bagent today than it was 365 days ago.

The Bears quarterback went from undrafted rookie out of Division II Shepherd University to Week 7 NFL starter in a matter of months. It was a whirlwind year that came to an end for Bagent on Monday when locker cleanout commenced at Halas Hall following the Bears' 7-10 2023 season.

“Just obviously super grateful. I always circle back to that word. Super grateful for the opportunity," Bagent said Monday. "To be able to have a healthy, successful rookie season means the world to me and my family. Really just everything else than that, just super excited to get back with a year under my belt to see how far I can go with this thing and see how good I can get.

"A lot of other people learned kind of what I thought initially, which was that I was good enough to play in this league," Bagent later said. "Just kind of – it just feels good to have success this high, at the highest level, just because of how long I have been dreaming about this opportunity. Just really happy that I worked as hard as I did my whole life."

The 23-year-old quarterback went 2-2 as a starter after Justin Fields dislocated his right thumb and helped the Bears steady a sinking ship after a 1-5 start. Bagent threw for 859 yards, three touchdowns, and six interceptions while completing 65.7 percent of his passes during a four-week stretch.

Bagent went from training camp afterthought to backup quarterback to NFL starter in a major market in the span of 10 weeks. The spotlight shined brightly on Bagent for a month, with the Bears fan base even entertaining a non-existent quarterback controversy after he won his first start.

The NFL hit Bagent in the mouth in his second and third starts before he helped lead the Bears to a win over the Carolina Panthers in his final run as starter in Week 10.

Fields returned in Week 11, and Bagent receded into the background to continue his NFL education behind the scenes.

Bagent said his weekly process slowed down after reverting to the backup role, and he was able to develop a routine that he plans to keep next season.

As far as his month-long odyssey as an NFL starter, Bagent views those early-career reps as QB1 as vital to his future prospects to become a starting quarterback.

“I think just how hard it is to win football games in this league and just how important each and every play is," Bagent said of what he took from his time as the starter. "There is so much on the line with every play, with deciding the win or loss of the game in the end. Just really being locked in for 60 minutes. I think I learned that in New Orleans. Just playing pretty amazing up until the fourth quarter. Just being able to be a little more locked in, have a little better understanding just so I can finish games when my number is called next year.”

Bagent said he plans to train at home for a bit before heading to either California to train with quarterback coach Tom House or Florida to train at Six Points. The goal? Become more dynamic, both as a thrower and as an athlete.

“Just being more comfortable, I think, pushing the ball down the field," Bagent said of his offseason goal. "I think quick game, intermediate game, I had millions of reps in that in college. So, being able to understand that the NFL wants chunk plays, we want to make drives as less plays as possible to put points on the board. So just be more comfortable in that world. Very excited to dive into it.

"Just a more dynamic athlete. Obviously, you see a lot of things that Justin [Fields] was able to do. Don’t necessarily think I can do things at that level but I think I can come pretty close. I’m excited to just become a better athlete and being a more dynamic thrower comes with that.”

Bagent plans to arrive back at Halas Hal for OTAs as an improved quarterback in every aspect. He understands that the quarterback picture with the Bears could change this offseason. He plans to focus his energy on himself and ensure he's in a better spot to thrive should he be forced back into the spotlight.

“Every year I just try to get better and have gotten better every year of my life since I’ve been playing football since I was six," Bagent said. "Just every year I have gotten better. Just looking forward to not changing what got me here, to continue to work my face off and try to continue to outwork everybody that I am competing with and be able to put my best foot forward when opportunities present themselves in 2024. Just taking advantage of opportunities and always be ready for the moment.”

As for Fields, Bagent knows his QB room mate might be somewhere else next season. Bagent praised Fields all year for helping him learn the ropes and gave Fields credit for the success he had as the spot starter.

On Monday, Bagent once again credited Fields for how he handled himself in the pressure cooker of Chicago.

 "Justin just leading by example, day in and day out, in spite of all the nasty things that are said about him on a daily basis," Bagent said. "Just being able to have a poker face and be able to keep the main thing the main thing. That was huge. Huge help in my development."

With that, Tyson Bagent's whirlwind year from D-II star to unlikely NFL starter concluded, and the rookie quarterback headed out of Halas Hall to start the next step in his underdog story -- one whose ending is still being written.

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