Chicago – Andy Dalton is the bridge that few Chicago Bears fans want to build, and it’s a placeholder that separates an anxious city from its packed Justin Fields experience. This Fields flick is coming soon – but later than many strangers would like. Which is why Dalton’s entry into what will likely be his only Bears training camp could be embarrassing if allowed.
However, when Dalton spoke with reporters for 15 minutes inside Hallas Hall on Tuesday afternoon, he was familiar with himself.
“Andy is a professional,” said receiver Allen Robinson. “…He is a man who knows the game.”
General Manager Ryan Pace added: “You can feel his experience. You can feel his confidence. … It’s simple to communicate and talk to him.”
You’ll hear plenty of similar praise from Bears coaches and players over the next month and a half as Dalton works through camp and pre-season as the defining first week for the team starting quarterback. You’ll also hear Dalton’s vow to stay focused, unfazed by Fields’ mania that will only persevere to grow.
“I’m the initiator,” Dalton said on Tuesday. “I knew I signed a one-year deal. And I knew I’d come and be the initiator, no matter what the situation. That’s my focus. I’m not worried about all the things that’s going to happen with Justin. Because it doesn’t affect me. At the end of the day, that’s what I’m going to do.”
But Andy, asked a reporter, what will happen when practice is begin to the fans later this week and every Fields highlight throw is greeted with a bang that makes it clear who the fans want to like?
“I’m sure I’ll do distinguished plays too,” Dalton replied with a smile. “And I hope they cheer in the alike way. As the initiator, I hope they will see that if you do distinguished plays, it is pleasing for all.”
Fair enough – even if that feeling is enveloped in some necessary denial of the dynamism that already exists.
until a further notice
Dalton is a Bears player until further notice, in part because the Bears coaching staff trusts his expertise and believes in his footballing intelligence and aptitude to avoid match-loss mistakes. Quite simply, there is faith that Dalton will always know where to go with football and when to go there, giving the attack the rhythm and consistency it has lacked in most of the former two seasons.
Furthermore, the luxury of being competent to provide Fields a longer career as an NFL rookie is something that Pace and Matt Nagy believe very strongly.
For now, Bears trainers are still working with Fields on how to properly call plays in the rally and teach him what he needs to see and diagnose prior snapping. His learning curve will remain steep until the end of the summer and a Dalton presence will allow a novice to grow without being pressured by an unnecessary deadline.
Nagy promised on Tuesday that Fields will get a pleasing deal of work in the three Bears’ pre-season games next month, tests that will aid gauge the young quarterback’s progress. Nagy stressed that the focus must remain on the fields every day. Every exercise. Each rep is 7 on 7. Each post-workout movie session.
The goal is to reach the end of each camp session by agreeing to check the box next to the “Good Day” category. Then go to the next stage.
“This is what we all want”
Even following insisting during junior camp in June that Dalton would be the starter of the inaugural season against the Los Angeles Rams on September 9. 12, Nagy was pressed again on Tuesday to consider a hypothesis, and was asked what would happen if Fields went through the next six weeks of training and all three pre-season games and fully lit it.
“That would be distinguished,” Nagy said. “That would be distinguished.”
Since the final weekend of April, Bears fans have been in this sort of best-case scenario with the midfielder they hope will become a standout player in the next decade. Neji understands where everyone comes from.
He said, “Believe me, just like everyone in our city, I want Justin Fields to be electric. That’s what we all want. But for us, we’re worried about him today.”
With thought and practical application of a realistic growth projection and timeline for Fields’ eventual emergence, the Bears are thrilled to have Dalton behind the wheel. Dalton knows he will be given a sincere chance to make the most of his chance with an attack that he believes can be much improved in 2021.
Ten years ago, Dalton was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals and began the first week of his rookie season. Even as Fields prepared to wait for his turn, Dalton acknowledged the ways he took advantage of this beforetime spice acquisition with the opportunity to play right away.
“The best thing you can do is play,” Dalton said. “This is the best experience you can have.”
Dalton said the real growth accelerates when the quarterback gets his chance to learn distinct defensive tactics, sees unused pressures and discovers everything his defenses throw at him.
He said, “You will know the violation.” “I unkind, you know the offense better. But then you’ll see how distinct teams are going to attack you and what you’re going to do and how you’re going to respond. What plays would be pleasing against some formats? The experience was a big thing.”
Heading into his 11th season, Dalton’s experience — 142 routine season starts — is a watershed. Nagy praised the midfielder’s skill at making proactive throws and keeping his playmakers on the alike path.
The Bears are still confident they can return to the playoffs in six months and believe Dalton gives them the best chance of getting there.
However, Dalton’s football intelligence extends far from the field. He must be skilled enough to understand that the fields are seen as the catalyst for a brighter coming for the organisation. With that comes the realization that his role as an apprentice to the Bears is temporary.
But its production will affect how lengthy the fields wait.
When reflecting on his junior season in 2011, Dalton provided a lesson he learned that applies to his current situation.
“You have to trust what you do,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what happened prior you got there or anything like that. That’s what I learned.
“In Cincinnati when I got there, everyone expected us not to triumph a game. We ended up doing the playoffs that year. So don’t worry about what happened prior (you arrived). Put your head down and focus on what you can control.”
The Bears’ first bootcamp workout is Wednesday afternoon. At this point, that’s the only thing Dalton focuses on.