Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields will make his first NFL start Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday.
Andy Dalton has been ruled out for the Week 3 contest after suffering a knee injury in last week's win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Fields replaced Dalton and threw for 60 yards and an interception while adding 31 yards on the ground.
Protest as much as he wants, Nagy—and basically everyone else—knows Fields is auditioning this weekend to take the starting job permanently. The embattled Bears coach has already taken criticism for starting Dalton in the first place. Going back to the veteran if Fields plays well could create a revolt in the fanbase and potentially fissure the locker room.
If Fields struggles, Nagy could easily go back to Dalton without as much fanfare.
The Ohio State product won't have an easy task in his first NFL start, with the Browns boasting an elite pass rush spearheaded by Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. Cleveland's only recorded three sacks through the first two weeks, but it's only a matter of time before talent wins out.
Fields took two sacks, losing 25 yards, last week against the Bengals and never seemed particularly comfortable throwing in the pocket. The Bears will be hoping for a better result with a full week of preparation with the first team under his belt.