Bears QB Andy Dalton isn’t looking over his shoulder at rookie Justin Fields

By Alyssa Barbieri

From the moment the Bears traded up to draft quarterback Justin Fields, Andy Dalton has been fielding questions about the young franchise quarterback waiting in the wings to take the starting job Dalton was promised back in March.

Specifically, whether Dalton — the anointed starter — was looking over his shoulder at Fields. When Dalton addressed the Chicago media for the first time during a game week on Wednesday, he brushed off any concerns about that pressure.

“That’s the worst thing you can do, is looking over your shoulder,” Dalton told reporters Wednesday. “I think understanding that is is key.

“Tuning out the stuff that you don’t need to focus on and knowing where you need to put your time and effort and all that kind of stuff, I think that’s just where I’m at. And you don’t worry about all the all the other stuff.”

Right now, Dalton is focused on Sunday night’s contest against the Rams, which presents its own challenges, especially for a starting offense that struggled to find rhythm in the preseason. But after a whirlwind offseason, Dalton is ready for the opportunity at hand.

“There’s a lot that’s gone on since March. All that has led to this point right here,” Dalton said. “Regardless of everything that’s gone on, we’re here week 1 and this is exactly what I wanted, this opportunity, and now looking forward to making the most of it.”

But if Dalton is determined to make the most of his opportunity, he’s going to need a strong performance, which is easier said than done when faced with going against Aaron Donald and this Rams defense.

There’s already a belief that Dalton’s leash is quite short with Fields waiting in the wings. We’ll see just how long it is when the Bears and Rams kick things off on Sunday Night Football.


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