On the heels of a mini bye following their win over the Carolina Panthers on “Thursday Night Football,” the Chicago Bears are getting their starting quarterback back. On Wednesday, head coach Matt Eberflus told reporters that the plan is to start Justin Fields against the Detroit Lions in Week 11.
Fields suffered a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand in the Week 6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The main issue has been grip strength, which Fields had to regain before Chicago felt comfortable putting him back under center. The QB gave an update on his recovery progress.
“It’s not 100%, but it feels good,” Fields said about his thumb, via ProFootballTalk. There’s still a little bit of healing left, but it’s stable. Feels pretty good. Feels good to throw, arm feels fresh.”
Fields said he wanted to play last week, but listened to the advice of the trainers, who thought it was best to give it more time.
“I’m really excited. The longer I was out the more I wanted to play,” Fields said.
Tyson Bagent started for Fields in Chicago’s last four matchups, and went 2-2.
The undrafted D-II quarterback out of Shepherd University impressed in his first career start vs. the Las Vegas Raiders, completing 21 of 29 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown in a 30-12 victory. However, since then, Bagent has thrown two touchdowns compared to five interceptions.
Sitting at 3-7 and holding the 1-8 Panthers’ 2024 first-round pick, SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh projects the Bears have a 38.4% chance to earn the No. 1 overall pick, and a 90.9% chance of securing a top-three pick. Fields returning to the starting lineup is important, because the Bears need to find some clarity if he’s the quarterback they want to stick with long-term.
After a dazzling 2022 campaign in which Fields picked up MVP votes after rushing for 1,143 yards, the Ohio State product is not running as much, and hasn’t taken that step forward as a passer. This offseason, the Bears have to make a decision on his fifth-year option.