The Burning Question: Should Justin Fields be named QB1 for the Chicago Bears?

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) warms up before the game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. parlay
Photo of Andrew Wilsher

Andrew Wilsher

NFL· 1 week ago

Show Bio

Editor of Pickswise. Born and raised in jolly old London, England, with an undying love for the NFL, NBA, soccer, and horse racing. A big-time sports bettor who loves futures markets and backing underdogs. Long-suffering New York Jets fan.

Welcome to The Burning Question, where three of our NFL experts give their thoughts on a big talking point coming out of the past week’s football action.

Justin Fields earned the first win of his NFL career as a starting quarterback, as he led the Bears to victory over the Lions. Chicago head coach Matt Nagy has said that Andy Dalton remains the Bears’ starting QB when he’s healthy, but is that the right decision? Should the Bears look to roll with Fields as their starter from here on out, or should he sit behind Dalton for the time being? Our NFL experts — Jared Smith, Andrew Ortenberg, and Ricky Dimon — give their thoughts on the Chicago quarterback situation.

Jared Smith: Perception is different than reality

The reality is neither option is particularly appealing for the Bears in the short-term. Meanwhile, the perception in Chicago seems to be that Matt Nagy would rather win now with Dalton and keep his job for another season instead of fully investing in Justin Fields by building an offense around him that best suits his skill set. I do not understand strategy one bit. It makes sense selfishly for Nagy, but it likely hurts the Bears in the long run. Since there truly is no right answer with this question, as neither Dalton nor Fields can save the Bears this season, it would make more sense to me to fully invest in the future of the team and throw my weight behind the rookie.

Find out Jared Smith’s best early bets for Week 5 of the NFL season in his Early Birds column!

Andrew Ortenberg: 1000%

The short answer? Yes. The long answer? Of course. I’m certainly not sold on Fields after one solid game against the lowly Lions, but the team simply has nothing to lose by letting him play. Chicago isn’t contending for anything with Dalton under center, and Fields at least gives the team a spark. Fields was a disaster in his first start against the Browns, but it’s clear Cleveland’s defense is just really good.

This past week the Browns held the Vikings to only seven points. It was also Fields’ first career start, on the road. Fields made major strides from his first to second outings, and he made some truly beautiful throws. It would be downright dumbfounding to not see if he can take another leap in start number three. The team traded next year’s first-round pick to trade up and get Fields, it’s time to see what he’s got.

Ricky Dimon: Dalton not done yet

I’m honestly 50-50 on this, so…what the heck…I’ll argue on the side will probably be less popular: Dalton.

The Bears are a respectable 2-2 through 4 games, leaving them in obvious NFC North contention (1 game behind Green Bay) and/or in the mix for a wild-card spot. I’m not saying that Fields as the starter automatically means they are waiving the white flag on 2021 and playing for the future, but Dalton’s experience probably gives them a better chances to win now. In 9 games as a starter last season plus the 1 in which he replaced Dak Prescott, Dalton compiled a decent 5-5 record even though the Cowboys’ defense was utterly atrocious. So far this season he is completing 73.5 percent of his passes with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The 33-year-old is by no means spectacular, but he also isn’t washed up.

Fields, meanwhile, hasn’t done much of anything — other than hold the ball too long and get sacked. With a similar workload, Fields has been sacked 12 times compared to 4 for Dalton. The rookie out of Ohio State has been picked off twice and has not yet thrown a touchdown pass. It should also be noted that running back David Montgomery is out 4-5 weeks with a sprained knee and even Damien Williams (thigh) is questionable for Week 5. Chicago could be down to rookie 6th-round pick Khalil Herbert. The Bears aren’t going to be able to run the ball much, which means they need a drop-back, down-field passing threat. Right now, Dalton gives them that dynamic to a greater extent than Fields.

Check out our full game preview for TNF between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks

Pickswise is the home of free NFL Picks and NFL Odds. Check out the latest NFL Prop Bets and NFL Parlays as well as expert NFL Underdog Picks and NFL Computer Picks.

See All
DraftKings

$200

Bet $1 on the NFL, NBA or NHL & Get $100!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account

Place a $1+ bet on any NFL, MLB, or NHL game

If either team registers a point (NFL), hit (MLB), or goal (NHL) you will receive a BONUS $100!

Must be 21+ located in AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WY or WV to play. Offer valid only for new customers. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new BetMGM account & deposit $20+

Bet $10 on your team to win Money Line

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$200

Bet $20, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit $20+

Bet $20 on your team to win Money Line (NFL or NCAAF)

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

Caesars Sportsbook

$5,000

Get a $5,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new Caesars Sportsbook account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $5,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose - up to $5,000!

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Unibet

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $500 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $500

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

BetAmerica Racing

$200

$200 Sign Up Bonus!

Fast, reliable and fast payouts - you'll have your money in 72 hours, if not sooner!

Proud history of providing safe, secure, and fun betting to American patrons

BetAmerica is owned by the iconic Churchill Downs Incorporated, home of 150 years of wagering history and the world-famous Kentucky Derby

Players who sign up using ‘BET200’ code will get a $200 sign up bonus. Offer valid for 7 days after registering on BetAmerica Racing product only. 21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign Up Bonus with TwinSpires Racebook!

Register for a new Twinspires account using offer code BET200

Make a deposit and start wagering on horse racing

Earn $100 in bonus cash for every $400 wagered!

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.