Role Will Remain the Same for Justin Fields

Nothing different says Bears coach Matt Nagy, so Justin Fields remains a spot player as the Cincinnati game approaches.
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It was only five plays for Justin Fields, so for Bears coach Matt Nagy it's not enough to alter the plan.

Everything remains status quo with Fields and the way the Bears plan to use their rookie quarterback in spot situations as they prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals this week in practice.

Fields' 2-for-2 passing effort with a 3-yard touchdown run pleased Nagy and starter Andy Dalton did post a sub-par 72.9 passer rating, but those numbers carried little weight with the Bears coach when it came to deciding quarterback usage.

"We're where we're at and I think he did a great job of what we were asking him to do," Nagy said of Fields on Monday.

Dalton went 23 of 38 for 206 yards with an interception.

"Without getting into the comparisons too much, I just think right now when we're evaluating Andy I thought he did a good job of being able to put us in good situations," Nagy said. "And then using Justin when we did, Justin did well, too."

Fields went 2-for-2 for 10 yards and had the 3-yard run. He had two other plays when he didn't run or pass.

Dalton's big issue was getting the ball downfield, with only a 5.4-yard average per pass attempt. It was a number like this which constantly plagued Nick Foles last year and also Mitchell Trubisky to some extent. The number needs to be in the 7s. 

Dalton completed one pass longer than 11 yards and that was a 19-yarder to Marquise Goodwin.

However, Nagy did say some of the emphasis on shorter passing came about because of the presence of Aaron Donald and the Rams pass rush and not because of shortcoming of Dalton.

"Probably the biggest thing with that was some of the things that they do defensively and then that guy that they've got over on the other side of the ball just a little bit (Donald), he can do that and he did it (pressure) there towards the end of the game but that doesn't mean that you can't still get explosives," Nagy said. "We understand that.

"And I think that's where we need to make sure that we are stretching the field vertically and we weren't able to get to that as much. And we kind of knew going into it that it was going to be one of those types of games, so you know that's just one of those deals where we want to moving forward try to do everything that we can to keep defenses honest but nothing to do with Andy as much as it was more the scheme."

Logically, because of Fields' arm strength, it would seem like using him more to come in and stretch the field a bit with a deep toss rather than just running it or throwing short like the Bears did against the Rams would make sense.

"I don't know, we'll see," Nagy said, wearing a big grin.

Fields' throw to Marquise Goodwin for 9 yards to the 3-yard line before Dalton's third-down interception off a deflection might have been more impressive to Nagy than the TD plunge on a zone-read play in the third quarter.

"His very first play, throwing that completion there, it was a little bit inside but it was a good decision for him and I liked that," Nagy said. "That's a big moment. He's used to those moments.

"He's just got to keep doing his thing and understanding where we're at. He had a great week of practice last week, albeit on the second team, the look team. He had a really good week, and he got better. I just want him to keep doing that and understanding where we're at."

So now it's back to the scout team for Fields this week as the Bears get ready for Cincinnati, but Fields didn't think this was bad preparation last week.

"I was just trying to do my best at practice and pretty much I guess torch our defense every time I was out there with the first team defense in the scout offense," Fields said of last week's practices. "I'm definitely taking every rep seriously and just trying to get better every play and whatever scout team play that they have I try to correlate it to our playbook and kind of try to read it like our offense."

He's seeing the benefit of learning without the pressure on him away from the field.

"When I'm, like, doing scout offense stuff I do probably do more stuff that I wouldn't necessarily try in a game so it's good kind of seeing what I can and can't do throwing-wise."

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