Andy Dalton: I’m focused on starting, not Justin Fields

The Bears made a big trade up the draft board in the first round to take quarterback Justin Fields, but they aren’t installing him as their starter right away.

Andy Dalton signed with the Bears before Fields was drafted with the understanding that he’d be the team’s starting quarterback. Head coach Matt Nagy has stuck to that plan, but the Fields move has most eyes on when the rookie will ascend to the top of the depth chart.

On Tuesday, Dalton said his eyes are looking elsewhere.

“He’s a first-round pick, I understand that,” Dalton said, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “But I also understand that I’m the starter. I understand that. I knew I signed a one-year deal. I knew that I was going to come in and I was going to be the starter, regardless of the situation, coming in. That’s my focus. I’m not worried about all the stuff that’s going to be going on with Justin because that doesn’t affect me.”

Dalton’s play will join Fields’ progress and the team’s record in determining how long the status quo holds under center in Chicago. Should either Dalton or the record fail to meet expectations, the push to go to Fields will increase regardless of his practice work.