Matt Nagy: Justin Fields is starting QB 'when healthy;' denies Bears chairman made Fields starter

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  • Chicago Bears
    Chicago Bears
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Justin Fields
    Justin Fields
    American football quarterback
  • Matt Nagy
    Matt Nagy
    American football coach

There has been a decided lack of clarity surrounding Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy, even after the team's late victory over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.

But Nagy spoke confidently about his status with media on Friday. And he made one clear-cut proclamation: Justin Fields is the Bears' starting quarterback.

“When Justin is healthy, he’s the starter,” Nagy said. “It’s pretty simple.”

Fields suffered cracked ribs in the eventual loss to the Baltimore Ravens and had to leave the game early. He was replaced by Week 1 starter Andy Dalton, who provided his team a lead late in that game and who did lead the Bears to victory over the Lions.

According to reports, Fields' MRI showed small rib fractures, but they're not considered serious. The Bears next play the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 on Dec. 5.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy (L) has said that Justin Fields is the team's starter when healthy. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Bears head coach Matt Nagy (L) has said that Justin Fields is the team's starter when healthy. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

In 10 games this season, Fields has completed 58.1 percent of his passes for 1,361 yards, four touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also has rushed for 311 yards and two TDs on 56 carries. The Bears are 2-6 in games he's started.

Dalton has completed 72 of 112 passes (64.3 percent) for 788 yards, with four TDs and two interceptions in his five games this season. The Bears are 2-1 in games he's started. 

Matt Nagy denies team chairman forced Justin Fields into lineup

There was one more interesting note from Friday's media session. Without prompting, Nagy denied a report from Shaw Media prior to Thursday's game that Bears chairman George McCaskey ordered the coach to start Fields earlier this season.

Nagy made Dalton the starter to open the season and was forced to go to Fields in Week 2 when Dalton got hurt. Once Dalton was cleared to play, Nagy said it was his call to stick with Fields as the starter — and that his decision was not influenced by McCaskey.

After facing questions about his future in Chicago in a tense media session on Tuesday, Nagy reportedly sought out management to get total clarity on his future. McCaskey also reportedly addressed the team, dismissing reports that Nagy would be fired following Thursday's game and that he remains their head coach.

Nagy spoke confidently about his immediate future on Friday. How long he remains head coach of the Bears remains a fluid situation it would seem. But the Bears have never fired a coach in-season and have at least six games remaining to improve on their 4-7 record.