Andy Dalton came to Chicago to start at quarterback, but it was never going to be completely comfortable for him.
The Bears knew they needed a long-term option at quarterback following the failure of the Mitchell Trubisky experiment, leading to their selection of Justin Fields in the first round of the 2021 draft. Fields fell behind three other QBs, with the chief concern being his processing speed at the college level. Too often, Fields held onto the ball too long, leading some to believe he might take a while to acclimate to the pro game.
Chicago seemed like the ideal fit for Fields to learn behind a veteran. Then training camp arrived, during which Fields grabbed plenty of attention and only added to it in his preseason debut.
The combined result has some Bears fans clamoring for Fields to ascend to the role of QB1 at the start of the season. Dalton, meanwhile, has his own claim to the coveted spot. After all, he was signed to be Chicago's starter in 2021, so he's attempting to block out the noise.
"You can't focus on that. If you focus on that, then it's gonna beat you down," Dalton said Wednesday. "I know who I am, I know who I was created to be, I know where my identity lies. Do I want the fans behind me and this team and all that kind of stuff? 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. Like I said before, 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 being on the best player I can be for this team and do everything I can to help this team win."
Dalton is right in focusing on doing his job and embracing the opportunity he has now. But before long, it will be Fields' job, at least, if his current rate of performance continues.