By GENE CHAMBERLAIN | Associated Press
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy has changed his mind and made Justin Fields the Chicago Bears' starting quarterback going forward.
On Monday, Nagy had said Fields was still the backup and playing only because of Andy Dalton's knee injury. But on Tuesday he told both quarterbacks of the change and announced it Wednesday. Dalton will return to practice this week after suffering a bone bruise to his left knee and will be the backup.
"I told you the last couple of weeks we've some good conversations internally," Nagy said. "It's helped us in the last couple weeks.
"Continuing that process this week it's led to making the decision to move with Justin as the starter."
Fields experienced a dreadful start, going 6 of 20 for 68 yards and taking nine sacks in Week 3 against Cleveland. In his first home start on Sunday he completed 11 of 17 passes for 209 yards, including a 64-yarder to Darnell Mooney.
"We've been patient with this, we've grown with him, we're proud of Justin," Nagy said. "He's been a great teammate from the very beginning."
The Bears signed the veteran Dalton in free agency and traded up to No. 11 from No. 20 in the first round of the draft to pick Fields, and Nagy had said all along the job was Dalton's until coaches felt Fields was ready.
Then came the knee injury to Dalton in the first half against Cincinnati in Week 2.
"The plan and the process that we had going into this was important for to understand, and then when Andy unfortunately got hurt with his knee, that sped the process up," Nagy said.
Dalton also had said he was promised the starting job this year, although nothing was ever said about how long he would keep that job.
Nagy also said starting running back David Montgomery is suffering from a knee sprain and will miss an indefinite amount of time.
The Bears (2-2) are at Las Vegas (3-1) on Sunday.