The last three weeks of the season don’t mean much to the trajectory of the franchise. The Bears were officially eliminated from the playoffs last week and long ago traded their 2022 first-round pick to the Giants. Coach Matt Nagy doesn’t figure to return next season — and general manager Ryan Pace might not, either. With games against the Seahawks and Giants the next two weeks, the Bears won’t even be in a position to play playoff spoiler.
The most valuable part of the Bears’ remaining season will be giving rookie quarterback Justin Fields as much game action as possible.
“Every rep he gets is gonna help him grow to become a great quarterback,” Nagy said.
On Wednesday, though, those reps came into question.
The Bears made Fields a limited participant in practice even though it was merely an indoor walkthrough at the Walter Payton Center. The reason: Fields hurt his ankle in the second quarter Monday night against the Vikings.
‘‘When you’re playing in the game, you’ve got a bunch of adrenaline going on,” Fields said. “So that’s when I first felt it, but I was still good enough to play through it. Of course, it got worse after the game and the next morning. But it felt better [Wednesday] morning.
“Right now, I’m expecting to play, but it’s really day by day.”
Nagy reiterated that he didn’t think Fields would miss the Seahawks game.
“Obviously, he played through it [Monday],” Nagy said. “So now we’ve just gotta see how it goes and see where he’s at the rest of the week.”
Nagy said the Bears decided to hold a walkthrough Wednesday because they were less than 48 hours removed from the Monday night game. He said the team will take the proper approach when deciding how much Fields practices this week.
“You always want to be smart — and we’re gonna be that way, just like we treat every injury with every player,” Nagy said. “We’ll be more cautious than anything to make sure that every day and every hour that passes he’s feeling better.”
If Fields does play Sunday, he could be hampered. For a quarterback who relies on his mobility — he ran seven times for 35 yards against Minnesota — an ankle injury could limit what he does best.
If Fields can’t go, though, the Bears could turn to a new old face: Nick Foles. He’s the Bears’ second-string quarterback with Andy Dalton on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Because he’s vaccinated, though, Dalton could return in time for the Seahawks game.
Foles hasn’t taken a snap this season but started seven games for the Bears last year, winning two of them. He spent training camp playing with third-stringers and the regular season on the scout team.
Tight end Cole Kmet played with Foles last year and intermittently during training-camp drills.
“I feel pretty comfortable with Nick out there,” he said. “You obviously want to get some reps and some timing in that regard, but it just is what it is at this point.”
The Bears hope it doesn’t come to that. There’s nothing more important during the rest of a lost season than giving Fields opportunities to learn.
“It’s not gonna happen overnight this year, next year,” Nagy said. “It’s gonna take a little bit of time, and he’s gonna continue to grow every year. But in the end, it’s gonna be awesome because it’s gonna be a really good one.”