Andy Dalton is the present quarterback and Justin Fields is the future quarterback for the Chicago Bears, but Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay isn't going to be caught flatfooted in his Week 1 game.
He told reporters, "I think it would be naive for us not to prepare for them to be able to utilize him in some form or fashion," when discussing Fields.
"Andy Dalton's a really good quarterback and he'll be a great challenge," McVay continued. "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 a challenge, for sure."
There's little doubt Fields is the franchise quarterback the Bears, who have struggled at the position for so long, plan to build around after they selected him with the No. 11 overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft.
However, Chicago head coach Matt Nagy has been consistent in saying the team will start the year with the veteran Dalton under center.
Fields is far more adept with his legs than Dalton and could be an option if Nagy wants to institute a gadget package that utilizes the quarterback run. Perhaps that is what McVay is preparing for, but another possibility is the Bears simply jump-start the future by switching to the rookie if Dalton is ineffective.
There is a clear ceiling at this point with the 33-year-old Dalton, and he is under contract for just this season. The Bears also didn't draft Fields just so he can sit behind someone who has never won a playoff game in his career and could look for a spark by putting the Ohio State product into the game.
That would give Chicago's offense additional firepower, but it also comes with an element of risk.
After all, the Rams are loaded on the defensive side and would be coming after Fields with a pass rush that features the great Aaron Donald. Nagy may look to wait for a game that doesn't include one of the best defensive linemen in recent history to insert the rookie into the offense.
Whatever happens, McVay suggested his team will be prepared.