Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is unlikely to play against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Head coach Matt Eberflus reiterated Fields is “week-to-week,” which means it’ll be undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent most likely getting his second straight start.
The rookie impressed in his debut, completing 21 of 29 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown. Bagent was efficient in moving the football. More importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over.
While Justin Fields remains doubtful for Sunday vs. the Chargers, the Bears quarterback is determined to get back as early as Week 9, according to people with the team. “He’s definitely working toward that,” a source said. Fields’ availability hinges on his ability to grip and throw a football, which could take time. But he’s been diligent in his rehab and game prep and hopes to avoid injured reserve.
Eberflus has repeatedly used the phrase “grip strength” when discussing Fields’ timeline. Of course, that makes sense. If you can’t grip the ball, you will not be able to throw the ball.
But you have to wonder if Fields is starting to feel the pressure from Bagent getting starting opportunities.
The former Ohio State standout has had 2.5 years to prove himself. The Bears had prolonged losing streaks both at home and overall. Bagent gets his first NFL start and ends the home losing streak.
At times, Fields has looked like a franchise quarterback, particularly with his performances in Week 4 and 5, throwing for a combined 617 yards and eight touchdowns. But he didn’t look the part against a blitz-happy Minnesota Vikings defense in Week 6.
If Bagent topples the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football, the Bears could have a legitimate quarterback controversy. You just have to hope Fields doesn’t accelerate the timeline to return simply because he’s feeling outplayed.