Justin Fields may not be the Bears’ starting quarterback yet, but Chicago wants to get a long look at him during the preseason. It sounds as if he will play deep into the second half of his first NFL preseason game.
Bears coach Matt Nagy told ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson that No. 1 quarterback Andy Dalton will play no more than a series or two in the preseason opener vs. the Dolphins. After that, Fields will take over and could play into the fourth quarter.
“For Justin, for sure [he’ll play] past the halftime,” Nagy said. “The mindset going into this is that he’s going to get a lot of reps. Does that take him into the fourth quarter? Maybe. . . . The more reps we can get him right now, the better. It’s only going to help him.”
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Fields may not exclusively play with the second-team offense. Nagy is hoping that the rookie can get first-team reps, depending on whether Dalton’s first drive goes well.
“That could happen,” Nagy said of Fields playing with the first team. “I would like to see that happen. Again, it just depends what happens on that first drive with Andy and some of those guys. I would say there’s a good possibility that could happen.”
Either way, Nagy’s No. 1 goal is to get Fields reps in a variety of situations. At the same time, he noted that he wanted to avoid putting Fields — or any other player — at risk during exhibitions.
“We want to be smart,” Nagy said. “We don’t want to get in a situation where any of these guys — not just Justin — are put at risk. That could be any position. But when you look at the quarterback spot, there is that balance.”
And what is Nagy looking for in his evaluation of the Bears’ quarterback room, and Fields specifically?
“I just want him — all those guys, same with Andy, I want him and Nick [Foles] and Justin to just go out and lead that offense,” Nagy said. “Don’t worry about making mistakes. That’s going to happen. Just play football. And if you just do that and you’re the leader of that team and you score touchdowns, then we’ll all be happy.”