Matt Nagy: We knew where and when we were going to use Justin Fields
During the practice week, Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters it would be “naïve” not to prepare for Bears quarterback Justin Fields in some way.
It turned out McVay was right.
Fields didn’t play many snaps, but Chicago did rotate him in with starter Andy Dalton periodically throughout the 34-14 loss to Los Angeles. This year’s 11th overall pick, Fields was 2-of-2 passing for 10 yards, though one of those completions was a shovel pass. And Fields took a zone-read for a 3-yard touchdown.
His first snap came on the Bears’ first drive — a 9-yard pass to receiver Marquise Goodwin.
After the game, Bears head coach Matt Nagy said Dalton and Fields were both prepared for the rookie to play.
“We had the plan and we stuck to our plan,” Nagy said. “We knew where and when we were going to use him and we stuck to that. And so, we’ll see where that goes and how we do it. But I think we all understand that for us, strategically, we’ll see where we go with that — without giving anything away.”
Nagy admitted the Bears may have used Fields more if they hadn’t gotten down by multiple possessions late in the contest. But he seemed pleased with how the rookie executed, particularly on that opening drive.
“Really, the very first play when he went out there and was able to make a throw — and that was an RPO. So he made a decision to throw the ball off of a look that we had,” Nagy said. “So right there to start the game, I thought that was great. And then he was involved on the sideline. And then when we got down into the red zone at times, we had a couple things in for him that worked and some that didn’t work. But when he got down in the red zone, he did some great things there, too.
“So we’ve just got to keep having him grow and keep staying positive. But he’s certainly a weapon.”
Nagy also acknowledged that there’s a balance of getting Fields work with potentially knocking Dalton out of his rhythm.
“I don’t think that’s a bad question at all. I think that’s real,” Nagy said. “And I think when you go through these situations or experiences, you look at all of that stuff because you want to make sure you’re taking care of both guys the right way.”
Dalton was fine in Sunday’s game, finishing 27-of-38 for 206 yards with an interception. But with Fields already getting select game snaps, sooner than later he’s going to be taking all of them with Dalton relegated to QB2.