How Long Until Graduation Is Undetermined

Justin Fields will follow the Matt Nagy blueprint, borrowed from the Kansas City Chiefs in the development of Patrick Mahomes as Bears look for QB success
Author:
Publish date:

The draft had ended and Justin Fields' selection had occurred almost 48 hours earlier.

Yet, Matt Nagy was still smiling from ear to ear while talking about his new quarterback.

Justin Fields has had that kind of effect on all of Chicago.

"The excitement was there, and when you're able to get a player like Justin Fields in the first round, obviously we were super pumped," Nagy said.

Now the Nagy plan goes into effect — the one he brought along from working with Patrick Mahomes while Alex Smith played in Kansas City. Nagy said there are plenty of details involved.

The real question the Bears need to answer now is how long until Fields can be ready.

"So those small little processes take time," Nagy said. "Once we get that, you can play faster and faster. And so going back to your question, there's going to have to be a really good plan in place to make sure that we can see that development."

Nagy gave an example of the little steps ahead. When he first came to the Chiefs, Mahomes called the team into a huddle at the start of his first practice and then began shouting out the play call to teammates in the huddle. 

The huddle, of course, is quiet time. Mahomes was used to college, where he got the team to the line every play and then got the play himself and yelled it out loud to teammates already at their positions.

So there are adjustments to be made. Growth and development are subjective terms in the quarterback game.

"Well, we can all see that he's a complete quarterback that has a ton of intangibles," Nagy said. "He's a threat every time the football is in his hands as a passer and a runner, but yet he makes really good decisions. He's played in big-time moments. He's one of the toughest quarterbacks — and I've been around a lot of tough quarterbacks, but he's definitely up there in regards to his experience at the college level, and I think he hangs his hat on that.

"And as we all grow with him, I think we're gonna sense that he really has a little bit of that 'it' factor to him, too, which is neat. That has to come naturally to everybody. Some have it, some don't, and I think that, for him, it's gonna be exciting for him to just come in here and learn how to be a professional quarterback."

Nagy still hadn't answered the question about the ticking clock.

"It's not gonna happen overnight," he said. "He's gonna be able to learn from great coaches and from great players that are gonna be the same room from him. And he knows that.

"That's the part of Justin is that he's super mature, he's very focused, but he's competitive as hell. Sometimes that pushes people. I think it certainly pushes him, but he does it in a respectful way and he's had a lot of success doing it."

Nagy has the help of quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator John DeFilippo and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in trying to make this happen. Neither worked with Mahomes, but had had their own varying successes in raising a QB.

What they needed to do before anything else was talk with Andy Dalton, because he's the starter. He's QB1 even if Fields is the QB wearing jersey No. 1. 

Nagy already had two conversations with Dalton on Thursday alone.

"I had one earlier in the day that just catching up with him, seeing how he's doing but also just explaining to him that you know there's so many different things that could happen and, you know, I think that's very important to discuss," Nagy said. "We don't know even at that time what could go on and that was great catching up with him.

"And then when we went ahead and moved up and got Justin later on that evening I thought it's very important to talk to Andy and just explain where we're at."

The results were what Nagy would have expected.

"And Andy is a hell of a person, we've built a great relationship already in the short time that we've been together and I've just got too much respect for him," Nagy said. "That's just how we do things around here. 

"I think that I'm really looking forward to seeing him be the best quarterback he could be. And he handled it as a true pro. He's a complete teammate, he's a great person and he's always been that way."

They have another veteran on the roster, for now. Nick Foles figured to play as backup, and now his role becomes a bit foggy.

"Nick, his mindset right now, he's in a really, really good place," Nagy said. "All he wants to do is be the best teammate he can be, be the best player he can be, support all of us, and we want to support him.

"I’ve seen Nick in a lot of different roles. I’ve seen how he handles things, and we all know as coaches that we're all going to work for each other. There's no selfishness. We're all here to help the Chicago Bears win a Super Bowl and we need to do it together."

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven