Andy Dalton is going to start for the Chicago Bears. Head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace haven't wavered on that promise despite mounting pressure from fans and pundits to play rookie quarterback Justin Fields.
Yet, the Los Angeles Rams are preparing to face Dalton or Fields according to head coach Sean McVay.
"I think it would be naive for us not to prepare for them to be able to utilize him in some form or fashion," McVay told the media of Fields, per NFL.com.
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"Andy is a winning quarterback in this league. (He) does a great job. I really have seen a lot of film of Andy, even going back to when Jay Gruden was his (offensive) coordinator at Cincinnati. So, very familiar with what a really good quarterback he is. He does a great job, accurate, anticipation, recognizes the looks defensively, can straighten up protections.
"Andy Dalton's a really good quarterback and he'll be a great challenge. And then you see the ways that Justin (Fields) made a lot of plays going back to his career at Ohio State (and) what he showed in the preseason. So, I think you got to be ready for either or, but it's going to be challenge, for sure."
While Dalton hasn't looked great in preseason, he's been playing limited snaps with a makeshift offensive line dealing with a myriad of injuries. Getting him into a game situation with a starting unit provides an opportunity to assess Dalton in a way they haven't.
And for Pace, sticking with Dalton isn't an indictment of how they feel about Fields as much as it is an indicator of how they feel about Dalton.
"We’re very confident in him and where he’s at,” Pace said. “So there’s no need for us to rush Justin.
“It’d be different if we didn’t feel that way. We feel like Andy’s in a good spot, too. We’re confident in Andy. There’s a lot of things with Andy— I know we’ve talked about it before— but his experience, he’s won a lot of games in this league, his decision-making, his intangibles, his leadership, all the things that he’s doing, there’s so many veteran players that have come up to me and have made comments about Andy Dalton and what he’s doing— in practices, in the locker room, in the huddle. All those little things that I think we’re gonna see pay off as we get into the season.
“It’s more about Andy right now. We’re excited about Justin. I’m more excited than anybody. But we’re just gonna let this thing play out.”