NFL: Winless Lions visit favored Bears and their QB enigma
The Chicago Bears made the Super Bowl Shuffle famous. Right now, they’re known more for their quarterback shuffle.
Will it be Andy Dalton, Justin Fields or Nick Foles behind center when they host the Detroit Lions on Sunday was the question early in the week.
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Chicago provided the answer on Saturday night by announcing that Fields will start against the Lions.
The Bears also said that Dalton (knee) was downgraded to doubtful. If Dalton is made inactive on Sunday, it will mark the second straight game he has missed due to the injury. Foles will be the backup if Dalton isn’t available.
Even though Fields struggled last week in his first career start — the rookie completed 6 of 20 passes for 68 yards — the Bears are 3-point favorites in the eyes of FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM.
Regardless, the Bears’ offense is a mess and head coach Matt Nagy is under heavy fire from critics about his handling of the situation and the team’s play-calling. Speaking to reporters this week, Nagy sounded like a coach who knows he needs a quick turnaround to hold onto his job.
“I’m about solutions. I’m not about negativity,” Nagy said. “I’m not about anything but trying to do what’s best for the Bears at anything. … Darn right, it has not been easy. It’s been hard, but when I signed up for this job, I knew there would be times I’d go through this kind of stuff. And now I’m getting tested to see where I’m at with this.”
Nagy hinted that he’d go with the veteran Dalton if his balky knee was good enough to play on. He didn’t make the decision to go with Fields until he knew Dalton was doubtful.
“Andy’s the 1, Justin’s the 2 and Nick is the 3,” Nagy said of the depth chart.
Fields, the team’s top draft pick, flopped badly last week with Dalton sidelined. He was sacked nine times in a 26-6 loss to Cleveland and the Bears had just 47 yards of total offense.
“He’s going to have a lot of different games in his career,” Nagy said. “That one was a rough one. I put that on me. That’s on me for why it went that way and I’ve got to learn from that. We’ve got to learn from that. But I think we have some answers.”
One thing Chicago (1-2) has that the Lions don’t is a victory. Dan Campbell is still looking for his first head coaching win after Detroit (0-3) suffered a gut-wrenching 19-17 loss to Baltimore. Justin Tucker kicked an NFL record 66-yard field goal that bounced on and over the crossbar on the final play.
Campbell hasn’t seen signs of despair from the team in subsequent meetings and practices.
“Any time you lose, it doesn’t feel good but I feel like we’ve got the right guys on this team, I really do,” he said. “With what we showed on Sunday and what this team was capable of doing, even though we didn’t win, I felt like it really told a lot about who we are and what we’re made up of. Just watching these guys come in and looking in their eyes, they’re ready to go. I think they’re pretty resilient.”
The Lions made an eye-opening move, cutting linebacker Jamie Collins when they were unable to trade him. Detroit’s defense showed some improvement against the Ravens, as Baltimore converted just 1-of-10 first downs.
Not knowing who will start at quarterback for the Bears made for extra prep work, but Campbell said earlier in the week that it was no big deal.
“There’s some things we’ve got to prepare for,” Campbell said. “That’s all right. We’ll be ready for both (Dalton or Fields).”
There’s no quarterback controversy in Detroit. Jared Goff has completed 69.9 percent of his attempts but didn’t throw a touchdown pass last week.
He’ll try to get tight end T.J. Hockenson more involved after Hockenson caught just two passes for 10 yards.
Chicago’s star linebacker Khalil Mack (foot) is questionable after practicing on a limited basis on Friday. Lions linebacker Trey Flowers (shoulder, knee) will miss his second straight contest.
–Field Level Media
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