Is Simple Approach to Bears QB the Best?

Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor prefers to keep the QB situation between Andy Dalton and Justin Fields as basic as possible.
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It's a fine line Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor must walk, although to hear him  more will be made of the Andy Dalton and Justin Fields quarterback competition than is necessary.

Lazor is good at reducing pressure situations.

The reason he's walking on a bit of an edge is on one side is the quarterback he has known since he started working with him in 2016 with the Cincinnati Bengals, Dalton. On the other side is the future and salvation of a franchise wandering for more than three decades, Fields.

An offensive coordinator can't take sides, and Lazor has an interesting yet simple way to address this situation.

"You're going to think I'm making this up but I'm 100% serious when I say this — I'm going to treat it like I was coaching the eighth grade team," Lazor said. "What's the best thing for the team? At the same time you try and get every guy as good as he can possibly be. But what is the very best thing to win games?

"It is real easy in our world to lose that perspective and I've worked for some people and one who would remind us, 'what would you do if you were coaching the eighth grade team?' It really should be that simple. I know it doesn't seem that way all the time but what is the best way for us to win games and that's why we are where we are. That's why we're fired up. It's a matter of perspective."

Interpret this any way you will, but does a coaching staff get fired up to coach a veteran quarterback who they've worked with in the past? Lazor elaborated.

"In our mind as coaches when we signed Andy Dalton, it was like a first-round draft pick," Lazor said. "And last year when we traded for Nick (Foles), to us that was a first-round draft pick.

"We're excited about the guys that we have. We're going to do the best thing for the team and I think when you see them walk out and watch practice, it will be clear, that's our goal. I'm not real hard to figure out. That's how I roll."

Coach Matt Nagy made an appearance Tuesday on the Rich Eisen Show and sounded a lot like Lazor.

"We will know," Nagy said. "If Justin gives us a better chance to win than Andy does then, that's something that we, and myself as the head coach who makes the decision, will have to make that choice," Nagy told Eisen. "We have a lot of belief with the roster that we have, and the players that we have, that with Andy we can do a lot of good things. But we also have to be real."

Eisen had suggested the possibility Fields would progress too rapidly to be sitting.

"I have to be prepared for what you just brought up," Nagy said. "And as long as we know that whoever that quarterback is, that they're better for the Bears and if that's Justin, then we'll do that."

Lazor isn't worried how any of the quarterbacks will address what can be an uncomfortable situation.

"I think Justin has to handle how he thinks," Lazor said. "He's a big guy. He's a grown up. He's competed his whole life." 

Nagy did say he was on the phone right away talking to Dalton after the first-round trade up to draft Fields. But Lazor is less worried about the veterans accepting the competition.

"The guy (Dalton) is a pro and the guy is here to help win games," Lazor said. "The responsibility to me of the younger players, the new players, whatever level they come in with, is to figure out who among the veterans should I be watching. And that's their job as young guys.

"If all the veterans do the very best job they can of being pros and being the best player they can be, it should be clear to the young guys: 'I need to pick up some of what that guy's doing.' So to me that's not on the veterans; that's on the young guys to figure out who I need to emulate."

Emulation only goes so far. Eventually it will be on Fields to show who he is, and Lazor believes the quarterback everyone will see is an athletic passer rather than an athlete who passes.

"I think he's a passer," Lazor said. "I really do. To me, this is the NFL and that's what excites you is when a guy can pass.

"Every guy brings a different skill set and I know it's very popular right now to talk about moving quarterbacks and such but I also know as an organization we work very hard in getting a whole offense full of skill players and not only do you want your quarterback to make some first downs with his legs you'd also like him to be very good at getting the ball to everyone else because you've invested a lot in the rest of the offense."

If this development happens as planned, they'll look like anything but an eighth-grade offense.

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