Justin Fields Defends Andy Dalton After Bears Fans Boo Veteran and Chant for Rookie

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 22, 2021

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 14: Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) chats with quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins on August 14, 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Chicago Bears fans clearly prefer Justin Fields to Andy Dalton in the starting quarterback battle, but Fields doesn't want to see fans booing his teammate.

"I really think it's kind of disrespectful to Andy, them cheering my name out like that," Fields said after Saturday's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. "Just cheer him on, you know? That's not helping Andy play better, to cheer my name. That's not doing none of that.

"My advice to them would be just cheer whoever's on the field."

Fans offered their full support to Fields when he came in early in the second half of the eventual 41-15 loss to the Bills:


An ovation for <a href="https://twitter.com/justnfields?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@justnfields</a>.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsCHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsCHI</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ">https://t.co/yP7plsAJWJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/JDHcJeXxGr">pic.twitter.com/JDHcJeXxGr</a>

Head coach Matt Nagy still clarified after the game that Dalton will be the team's Week 1 starter.

"We need to see him in the regular season," he told reporters.

The Bears have mostly struggled during the preseason with Dalton under center. The offense started with three punts and a fumble in the first four possessions against the Bills, leading to some boos from the home crowd at Soldier Field.

Dalton finally produced a highlight when he connected with Rodney Adams for a 73-yard touchdown.

"I didn’t hear any boos after the touchdown pass that I threw," Dalton said after the game. "So hopefully they'll be cheering a lot."

More on-field production will help his case, although it might be difficult for the 33-year-old to win over a fanbase that wasn't thrilled by his signing in the first place.

Fields, the No. 11 pick in the 2021 draft out of Ohio State‎, and has flashed his potential in brief moments during the preseason. His running ability was especially on display Saturday with 46 yards on four attempts.

The Bears have one more preseason game next Saturday against the Tennessee Titans before opening their season Sept. 12 on the road against the Los Angeles Rams.