One game into the Justin Fields era and this is already blowing up in the Chicago Bears' face. He has been in for just five snaps, and the city is worked up for more following 70 years of failure at QB in Chicago. But one thing is clear already:
Fields isn't going to make it. Not here, not now, not with Matt Nagy as his coach.
The Bears are starting Andy Dalton again this week against Cincinnati. Nagy keeps talking about Fields' development as if there is some sort of plan to watch him grow the way the greats did, like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
Brady was young 20 years ago, in a different era. And until last year, he played for one coach, Bill Belichick, the whole time.
Can you see Fields and Nagy together for 20 years? Nagy should feel lucky to still be the coach by Tuesday. I'd fire him now for dereliction of his Fields duty.
We don't really know if Fields has the stuff to be great. We do know that Nagy will never be a great coach. He won't even go down as Fields' coach, so why not just dump him now before he does too much damage?
Most of the great quarterbacks throughout history are a tandem with a great coach. Joe Montana and Bill Walsh. Dan Marino and Don Shula. Roger Staubach and Tom Landry, Terry Bradshaw and Roger Noll, Joe Theismann and Joe Gibbs. John Elway and Mike Shanahan, Jim Kelly and Marv Levy, Brett Favre and Mike Holmgren, Drew Brees and Sean Payton. And yes, even Brady and Belichick.
Dan Fouts won just 12 games through his first five years as quarterback of the San Diego Chargers, and then Don "Air" Coryell came in as head coach. Fouts is now in the Hall of Fame.
Fields and Nagy don't work, and the Bears' players see it. They're blaming Nagy. After the Bears' humiliating blowout to the Los Angeles Rams in the season opener, speed receiver Marquise Goodwin said the offense's water-torture-like dependence on short passes — my description — made things easy on Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
"Especially in short spaces and (with) us not running past 10 yards," Goodwin said. "That fell right into his hands.
"It's challenging, but you've just got to work with what you're getting. I don't control the plays that are called. I don't control anything but doing my job, and I just do it the best that I know how. Fast."
One game into the season and Nagy is already losing the locker room over his handling of Fields.
And those quick, short passes? That's Dalton's style. He averaged just 2.44 seconds to throw the ball. Fields can move and throw deep and accurately.
Last year when Nagy started using those quick, short passes, that was seen as working within the limits of failed quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Now Nagy is using Dalton the same way?
So this was the shortcomings of Nagy all along.
Here's what former Bears coach Dave Wannstedt said about Nagy on Barstool Sports' Red Line Radio:
"He's got a philosophy and he believes in it, but I don't know if it fits Justin Fields. I know it doesn't.
"I don't think Mitch Trubisky truly had a chance to do what he does best. Give me that defense a couple years ago, give me (Bears running back) David Montgomery and give me Mitch Trubisky and I will get you to the playoffs every year."
The Bears have had such a long run of failed quarterbacks that I just refer to all of them as "Some Guy." After a while, they all blend in. Trubisky, Cutler, Rex Grossman, Jim Miller, Cade McNown.
Shane Matthews, Brian Griese, Steve Walsh, Kordell Stewart.
The list could go on forever. Bears fans feel that in Fields they might finally have The Guy, a modern quarterback for the first time. He might be the next Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson.
I'm skeptical, but for sure it's not going to happen with Some Coach.
Nagy never gives a good answer as to why he won't start Fields. I think I know why now: He doesn't fit Nagy's style.
Young quarterbacks only learn so much by sitting on the sideline watching. It's also about learning how to connect with a team's identity. How to connect with the coach.
The Fields-Nagy combo was dead on arrival.
"We like where our offense is at," Nagy said after the offense failed in exactly the same way it has throughout Nagy's tenure.
Nagy fired himself as play-caller last year, handed over the job to his offensive coordinator, and decided to stand on the sideline as a leader. Now, he has fired himself as a leader and is calling plays again.It's time to fire him altogether. Give Fields a chance.