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Justin Fields to Start Bears' Final Preseason Game; Andy Dalton Will Start Week 1

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 24, 2021

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Rookie Justin Fields will get the start over veteran Andy Dalton at quarterback Saturday in the Chicago Bears' preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Bears head coach Matt Nagy announced the news Tuesday and added that Fields will play roughly two quarters.

Per Chris Emma of 670 The Score, Nagy also said that Dalton will not play against the Titans since he is locked in as the starter for Week 1 of the regular season.

Fields, who was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, has been impressive in preseason action but will seemingly have to wait before supplanting Dalton as the starter regardless of how he performs against Tennessee.

In his preseason debut against the Miami Dolphins, Fields completed 14 of his 20 passing attempts for 142 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions, while also rushing for 33 yards and a score.

He wasn't as good in the next game against the Buffalo Bills, going 9-of-19 for 80 yards with no touchdowns, but he once again didn't throw a pick and rushed for 46 yards on only four carries.

By comparison, the 33-year-old Dalton has gone 13-of-21 for 164 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a starting role.

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The Bears let Mitchell Trubisky leave in free agency during the offseason and signed Dalton to a one-year, $10 million contract with the idea of making him a bridge to the team's quarterback of the future.

It was uncertain if the Bears would be able to land that quarterback in the draft, but they lucked out when Fields dropped outside the top 10, allowing them to trade up to No. 11 and nab him.

Most Bears fans clearly want the Fields era to start immediately, which comes as little surprise since he is perhaps the most exciting quarterback prospect in the history of the franchise.

Dalton has had a solid NFL career with three Pro Bowl nods and five playoff berths to his credit, but he has gone just 6-16 as a starter with 30 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions over the past two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys.

While Fields has no chance to start Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams based on Nagy's comments, a strong showing against the Titans could possibly position him to take the reins from Dalton early in the 2021 campaign.

All signs point toward Fields becoming the starter at some point this season, and Saturday will mark his first opportunity to show he can handle being a starting quarterback in the league.

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