Maybe being assured by Matt Nagy that he is the starting quarterback led Andy Dalton to be brutally honest.
Whatever the reason, on Tuesday when Bears players reported for training camp their starting quarterback for the opener gave a very good reason why rookie Justin Fields would actually benefit from being the quarterback who plays.
Asked about the best way a young quarterback develops, Dalton candidly said:
"I think the best thing you can do is play. That's the best experience you can get. When you see a new tweak, leaning different defenses, learning difference schemes, learning all the pressures that are going to come at you, you're going to know the offense. I mean, you better know the offense. But it's seeing how two different teams are going to attack you, what you're going to do, how you're going to respond, what plays are going to be good against certain things. The experience was such a big thing."
It was something Dalton found out by being the starter for the Cincinnati Bengals from Day 1.
Maybe Nagy should have asked Dalton about this first before deciding to start the veteran over Fields against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 12.
But the Bears have their quarterback plan and it's starting Dalton while developing Fields.
In preseason, Fields will get his playing time.
"We understand who he is and what he can do, but we have to have a little bit of patience with how we do it," Nagy said. "The best part of all of this is there’s a lot of open communication that goes on amongst us as coaches and those three quarterbacks.
"We're very open with each other, so we talk about how things are gonna go, what the expectations are in that room, how we want to see their growth."
If Fields comes out in preseason and lights it up?
"That would be awesome. That would be awesome," Nagy said, although it would certainly create a headache for him.
Winning games is going to take precedent over throwing rookie quarterbacks onto the field before they're ready.
This is the way of the NFL and both Nagy and Pace know they've been tied to speculation that they must win now.
"I think just keeping it very simple, like a lot of teams, owners and head coaches in this league and general managers, is, right now, you've got to win," Nagy said. "That's keeping it really simple. That's every team's goal every year is to do that."
Nagy and Pace feel they do have the support of Bears board chairman George McCaskey and team CEO Ted Phillips, even if the general assumption after January's press conference is that their jobs are on the line this year.
"We're extremely motivated in a good way in the fact that these are challenges," Nagy said. "We look forward to these.
"We know that we have support from them (ownership), and that's No. 1. We have support from them. Now it's just a matter of putting it all together with the players and coaches."