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Andy Dalton injury leads to even bigger mess for the Chicago Bears

Vincent Frank

Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton went down with a knee injury during their Week 2 win over his former Cincinnati Bengals squad on Sunday.

Dalton was replaced under center by rookie first-round pick Justin Fields, who struggled big time in his first extended regular-season action as a pro.

As of right now, all indications are that Dalton avoided the dreaded torn ACL and suffered a mere bone bruise to the knee.

Whether this keeps Dalton out for Week 3’s game against the Cleveland Browns remains to be seen. But that seems to be a pretty good bet given the extent of the injury.

In talking to the media one day after their first win of the season, Bears head coach coach Matt Nagy sent some mixed signals regarding his team’s starting quarterback situation.

Related: Is Andy Dalton ranked among our top-20 NFL quarterbacks?

When asked whether Dalton would start if he’s healthy, Nagy said “that’s something I’m not going to get into with scheme” The reporter then indicated it was not a scheme-related question before Nagy said it was.

Immediately after, someone from the Bears’ PR team entered the media room to indicate that Andy Dalton is still their starting quarterback, “health permitting.”

Andy Dalton and the Chicago Bears’ quarterback mess

chicago bears qb andy dalton
Sep 19, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton (14) stands on the sideline during the fourth quarter of their game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Sunday’s win over Cincinnati, very little has been decided about the all-important quarterback position in the Windy City.

Fields took over for an injured Dalton, completing a mere 6-of-13 passes for 60 yards with an interception. It was Chicago’s defense that won the game with three consecutive interceptions of Bengals sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow.

Fields himself was critical of his performance following the game.

Related: Are the Chicago Bears legit NFL Playoff contenders heading into Week 3?

“I don’t think I’m pleased with how I played at all. I think there’s a lot more in me that I have to show. That’s going to come with time. I know it’s not going to happen overnight, so I’m just going to keep grinding, and no matter what happens, I know I’m meant for this. I’m meant to be here,” the Ohio State product said. “My path here has been crazy. When I was younger, I never thought I would be here in this position. I’m here for a reason. And I definitely think I can play better. I just think that this is the beginning. I’m definitely excited for the future and excited to get back to practice on Monday, Tuesday.”

As for Dalton, he’s completing 73.5% of his passes for 262 yards with one touchdown against one interception. The 33-year-old veteran is also averaging a modest 5.3 yards per attempt, which would be a career-low mark.

After a summer filled with Bears fans demanding Fields start over Andy Dalton, there’s now an argument to be made that the rookie from Ohio State is not ready. In no way does this mean Dalton himself can do enough to lead Chicago into playoff contention in the ultra-competitive NFC.

Of course, all of this depends on the health of Dalton moving forward.

Either way, this situation remains a complete mess for Chicago’s brass following an offseason in which they left no stone unturned in an attempt to fix what has been a long-standing quarterback issues in the Windy City. Dalton’s injury and Nagy’s comments regarding the quarterback situation both add another layer to it all.

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