Bears quarterback Andy Dalton is well aware that the fans at Chicago’s preseason opener were strongly behind rookie Justin Fields, and cheered Dalton primarily when he got off the field. But Dalton says he won’t focus on that.
Instead, Dalton said when asked if there’s any awkwardness about the fans’ excitement for Fields that his own focus remains on the fact that he is the Bears’ starting quarterback and is getting ready to lead the team in Week One.
“You can’t focus on that,” Dalton said of the fans’ preference for Fields. “If you focus on that, that’s gonna beat you down. So I know who I am, I know who I was created to be, I know where my identity lies. And so do I want the fans behind me and this team? Yes. Do I want them behind Justin? Absolutely, I do. But that’s not my focus. I can’t focus on all that right now. Justin’s gonna have his time and Justin’s gonna have a great career, but right now it’s my time and so my focus is on being the best player I can be for this team and doing everything I can to help this team win.”
Bears coach Matt Nagy has insisted that the Week one starting job is Dalton’s and so Dalton does need to be focused on himself. But realistically, Dalton won’t have the starting job in Chicago for long.