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Bears name Justin Fields permanent starting quarterback over Andy Dalton for rest of 2021

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The Chicago Bears franchise officially belongs in the hands of Justin Fields, who was named the starting quarterback going forward by head coach Matt Nagy on Wednesday. Regardless of Andy Dalton’s health, Fields will be the No. 1 quarterback for the remainder of the season. 

“He’s done everything to show us that he’s ready for this opportunity,” Nagy said during his Wednesday press conference. “After this past weekend and the growth we saw with Justin, the discussions we had were to go this direction.”

Just two career starts were all Nagy and the Bears decision-makers needed to make Fields the starting quarterback. Fields significantly improved in a Week 4 win over the Detroit Lions, completing 11 of 17 passes (64.7 percent) for 209 yards with an interception (82.7) rating, just one week after completing 6 for 20 passes (30 percent) in his first career start.

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Nagy gave Fields the nod over Dalton, who started the first two games of the year before being sidelined with a knee injury. Dalton was a full participant at Wednesday’s practice, but will be the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart — days after Nagy said Dalton is the No. 1 quarterback when healthy. 

Dalton has been more efficient than Fields in the short season, completing 73 percent of his passes to Fields’ 48 percent. Fields, however, throws the ball deeper with 9.3 air yards per attempt, compared to Dalton only netting 4.0 yards in that category. Fields also has been blitzed more frequent than Dalton, getting sacked 12 times to Dalton’s four — nine of which came in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns. Fields was only sacked once in the Week 4 win over Detroit, showcasing the growth Nagy preached this week. 

“This is Justin’s time. We’re so confident moving forward with that,” Nagy said. “He’s earned it.” 

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