The Chicago Bears didn't move up nine spots in the draft and part ways with a 2022 first-round pick to have Justin Fields ride the bench in his rookie season. This isn't a matter of if -- but when -- Fields will be QB1 in Chicago.
Fields isn't willing to wait around to become the starting quarterback. He plans to be the starter Week 1.
"I think everybody on our team should be striving for a starting job and if you're not, there's no reason for you to be here," Fields said on a conference call at Bears rookie minicamp Friday. "Of course, I'm gonna do everything that I can to get that starting job.
"It's really not up to me, Coach [Matt] Nagy has a set plan on my development. I'm just going to work hard, keep my head down, and just keep grinding it out every day."
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A veteran mindset for a rookie signal caller is just what the Bears need, especially at a position where the franchise has never had a 4,000-yard nor 30-touchdown passer. Fields has the opportunity to accomplish that in Chicago based on the Bears' current quarterback situation, considering Andy Dalton was the starter before the Bears made the big trade to select Fields.
Chicago paid $10 million just to bring Dalton in, and the Bears are still on the hook for $6.67 million to eat Nick Foles' salary for this year. Fields is arguably the most talented quarterback on the roster -- and the one player to save head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace's jobs.
"Those are the types of things that us as a coaching staff we have to say, OK, where's he at right now? What's his bottom ground, what's his base? And once we know what his base foundation is then we can start to build off that," Nagy said, per NBC Sports Chicago's Adam Hoge. "Then it's just going to be how fast he can learn. How fast is this stuff happening? What kinds of plays is he making in practice? What kinds of mistakes is he making? And again, it just ultimately goes back to, we'll all see it and we'll know it."
The Bears seem ready to turn the reins over to Fields when the time is right. It's up to Fields to seize the opportunity.