The Justin Fields era is kicking off a bit earlier than the Chicago Bears initially anticipated. Heading into the season, the plan for Matt Nagy's club, as it relates to the quarterback position, was to have veteran Andy Dalton start for as long as possible, leaving the first-round rookie in Fields to develop behind the scenes. However, Dalton suffered a knee injury in the midst of their Week 2 matchup and is out for Sunday's contest against the Browns, thrusting Fields to QB1. And depending on how things go, Fields' stay atop the depth chart may be longer than expected.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Dalton could miss additional time depending on how his knee recovers. Specifically, the 33-year-old is dealing with a bone bruise on his left knee from his femur and tibia colliding. While Dalton does not need surgery as there was no cartilage or ligament damage, his return centers around how quickly that bruise can heal, which opens the door for Fields to have an extended window as the team's starter.
Chicago has not placed Dalton on injured reserve with the hope that he will be able to recover in a shorter time than the three-week threshold that would need to take place if they placed him on IR, per Schefter.
In relief of Dalton last week, Fields completed six of his 13 throws against Cincinnati for 60 yards and an interception. He also rushed 10 times for 31 yards.
Nagy has been adamant that Dalton will remain the Bears starter when healthy. That said, with him sidelined due to this injury, Fields will get an opportunity to force Chicago off that plan and possibly cement himself as the starter going forward, if he's able to impress over this period of time Dalton is on the shelf.
Pick Six Newsletter
Crafted By The Best NFL Experts
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.