Bears vets ‘can’t wait’ to see more out from Justin Fields
Perhaps the only other Bears player to know the type of celebrity that awaits Fields, Khalil Mack said the attention doesn’t seem to bother the rookie.
Bears coach Matt Nagy heard the excitement for rookie quarterback Justin Fields on Saturday.
So did starter Andy Dalton.
“That’s not easy [for Dalton] being on that sideline for that game and hearing when Justin runs out, all the cheers,” Nagy said Tuesday. “I mean, let’s just face it — if that was any of us, that’s not easy.
“But at the same point in time, it’s a part of the business. [Dalton] understands the excitement. He’s not saying, ‘Why is everyone cheering for Justin?’ He gets it. He understands it. He’s helping Justin get to this point. That’s what I love about Andy. Our teammates see that, and they feel that.”
No one feels bad for a starting quarterback making $10.5 million this year or the coach who gets to decide who plays and when. Nagy knows that. But his remarks were an admission of the fan anticipation surrounding Fields. The Bears haven’t always faced similar realities head on. In 2019, Nagy mostly refused to publicly critique quarterback Mitch Trubisky even as he plainly struggled.
Fields figures to start the season as the backup behind Dalton. During practice Tuesday at Halas Hall, he played just one snap with the first-team wide receivers. Dalton was sharper in most every drill.
Still, Fields was dynamic enough in preseason action Saturday against the Dolphins to get his teammates excited for whenever the day comes that he’s named the starter.
“Oh, man, that was an excellent showing of his talents,” outside linebacker Khalil Mack said. “But it’s only one step in the right direction. Looking forward to seeing more out of him.”
Safety Tashaun Gipson, a 10-year NFL veteran, was impressed, too.
“The thing about it is, some people, when the lights come on . . . some people are just gamers, man,” he said. “I was excited to see that. Obviously, from the time he stepped on the field, the crowd went crazy. That atmosphere, you could imagine it being packed out. It’s just exciting to see, man. He’s an exciting player. That’s why you draft him. That’s why you traded up to go get him.
“You can’t say enough good things about him. He a humble kid. He just goes about his day, and I can respect that. He don’t do too much. He understands the assignment. He understands what he’s here for. I don’t think a moment is too big for him.”
Mack — perhaps the only other Bears player to know the type of celebrity that awaits Fields — said the attention doesn’t seem to bother the rookie.
“He can handle it,” Mack said. “You can kind of tell it doesn’t get to him, if that makes sense, because I’ve been around him and heard a few calls for him. You can kind of tell that he’s a humble guy and don’t really let none of that kind of get to his head.”
Analysts on some national debate shows criticized Fields for flatly saying Saturday’s game wasn’t too fast for him. But Gipson liked hearing Fields say it.
“I’ve seen a lot of people made a lot of static about some of his comments,” Gipson said. “But at the end of the day, when you’re gifted like that, it’s God-given. I’m rocking with him.”
His other teammates will, too — eventually. No matter how much fan buzz builds up in the next 3½ weeks, Fields doesn’t figure to start.
“I just can’t wait to see him,” defensive lineman Angelo Blackson said. “When things start to count, him getting out there and making those big plays and leading the team . . . can’t wait.”