Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy not rushing rookie QB Justin Fields before he’s ready


CHICAGO — I realize the last thing voracious Justin Fields fans will want to hear this morning, after seeing him have a B or B-plus preseason opener Saturday afternoon at Soldier Field, is that he might not play much this year. I really have no idea how much he’ll play, or when he’ll take over for Andy Dalton, if he does. That’s because it’s unknowable right now.

But a few notes about how much various quarterbacks who debuted in this century played as rookies:

• TOM BRADY. Mopped up in one game as a rookie in 2000. Threw three passes all year. Second on the all-time passing-yards list.

• DREW BREES. Played in one game as a Charger in 2001, completing 15 of 27 throws. First on the all-time passing-yards list.

• CARSON PALMER. The first pick in the 2003 draft didn’t play a snap till 2004. Ended up throwing for more yards than Dan Fouts and Joe Montana.

• AARON RODGERS. Threw 16 passes as a 2005 rookie. Didn’t start a game till his fourth season, 2008.

• PATRICK MAHOMES. Played one game as a 2017 rookie behind Alex Smith in Kansas City. Won it. Carried the clipboard for the rest of his five rookie months.

Miami Dolphins v Chicago Bears
Bears quarterback Justin Fields. (Getty Images)

“And,” said the offensive coordinator of that 2017 Kansas City team, Matt Nagy, “I was in that meeting room every day for those meetings. I saw how Patrick earned Alex’s trust. What I mean by that is like from the start, we would watch tape and Alex would ask me and Alex would ask [backup] Tyler Bray what we thought about the certain coverage that we saw against the defense. He’d ask us. He wouldn’t ask Patrick. He didn’t trust Patrick yet. By about Week 10, he was asking Patrick. ‘Patrick, what do you think they’re doing right there?’ That’s trust. He earned that. That red-shirt year was so huge for Patrick’s development. He grew in practice. He really grew in the meeting rooms.”

It’s folly to suggest Mahomes would been an incompetent player as a rookie. Lots of quarterbacks play as a rookie and prosper. But Andy Reid’s plan with the best young quarterback in football—sit Mahomes, play a good vet in 2017—sure looks good now.

I met Nagy at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Bears’ hotel, four hours before they kicked off the preseason against Miami. Nice opening performance for the 11th pick in the draft, Fields, who played about two quarters and completed 14 of 20 passes and threw for one TD.

The topic: When to play Fields, how long to stick with Andy Dalton, and when exactly to move on to the future.

The answer: Unknowable, as of 8 a.m. on this morning, Aug. 14, 2021. Whatever happens, Nagy says, will happen organically. And he’s at peace with that.

But he also has a riff: He’ll be darned if he puts Fields in the lineup before he’s ready, and before it’s best for the team. Both must be true for Nagy to make the call, barring an injury to Dalton.

“If we play Justin early to satisfy our needs, and not to do what’s best for Justin and the Chicago Bears, we’re going to ruin Justin and hurt the Bears,” Nagy said. “We need to do is what’s best for the Chicago Bears—not only right now but we want this to be something that lasts 15 years. Not two years. See what I’m saying? What happens is, people get stuck in the moment, and they do it to satisfy themselves. I’m gonna do what’s best for Justin Fields. Not for Matt Nagy. People can say the save-your-job deal. Let me tell you how much I care about that part, okay? I don’t. When you start doing things to do things for yourself, you’re wrong. You’re dead wrong. You’re dead wrong. I’m not letting that happen. We are going to develop Justin right, and we’re sticking to it.”

Seems pretty definitive. I like it. Every player’s different. But the last time Nagy had a rookie high pick in his charge was Mahomes, and he sat, and it worked out well. Others have played the first year recently—Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert last year, for instance—and that turned out great for their teams (at least till Burrow tore his ACL in November). But look at the five greats of this century I listed a few paragraphs ago. And don’t tell me the fans are tired of bad quarterback play and deserve a great young player NOW and blah, blah, blah. The Bears need an adult in the room and a 15-year plan that works with a quarterback, finally. We’ll see if this works with Fields, but I can’t see how it’s a bad plan, particularly with a reputable if limited starter, Dalton, likely playing come September.

Nagy must be patient and stick to this plan. For 35 minutes at the dawn of the new season with a franchise quarterback in the saddle, he swore he will.

Read more in Peter King’s Football Morning in America

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

13. Dak Prescott (DAL)

12. Kirk Cousins (MIN)

11. Daniel Jones (NYG)

10. Matthew Stafford (LAR)

9. Deshaun Watson (CLE)

8. Aaron Rodgers (NYJ)

7. Jalen Hurts (PHI)

6. Trevor Lawrence (JAX)

5. Lamar Jackson (BAL)

4. Justin Herbert (LAC)

3. Josh Allen (BUF)

2. Joe Burrow (CLE)

1. Patrick Mahomes (KC)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!