Justin Fields

Pats’ McDaniels Not Getting Interview Requests?

In an article for NBC Sports, Mike Florio divulged that a source with knowledge of the situation informed him that Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels hasn’t received requests to be interviewed by any of the eight teams currently looking for a new head coach. This development has surprised the Patriots, but they expect the situation to change soon. 

McDaniels is a long time Patriots’ staffer, first joining the organization in 2001 as a personnel assistant. After a year, McDaniels worked with the team as a defensive assistant for two years before switching to the offensive side of the coaching staff. After one season as the Patriots’ quarterbacks coach, McDaniels was promoted to offensive coordinator, developing the Patriots’ offense into the juggernaut that broke several NFL records in the 2007 season. His coaching success led to much speculation that he could be a top candidate for head coaching jobs, but he pulled his name out of the ring before the Patriots even finished their playoff run.

When McDaniels was able to lead a Patriots team quarterbacked by Matt Cassel to an 11-5 record, following a season-ending injury to Tom Brady in Week 1 of the 2008 season, the Broncos saw fit to name McDaniels as their new head coach for the 2009 NFL season. McDaniels’s tenure in Denver started with a six-game win-streak before losing eight of the next ten games to finish the season 8-8. After a 3-9 start to the 2010 season, and multiple controversies from his handling of difficult players, Denver decided they’d seen enough and fired McDaniels after Week 13. McDaniels spent a year as the offensive coordinator of the Rams, under Steve Spagnuolo, before returning to New England following Spagnuolo’s firing.

McDaniels has stayed in Foxborough ever since. He’s continued to draw head coaching interest here and there, even accepting the head coach position for the Indianapolis Colts in February of 2018 before backing out of his commitment on the same day to stay in New England, prompting his long-time agent, Bob LaMonte, to sever ties with McDaniels.

McDaniels’s handling and development of rookie quarterback Mac Jones has led to some speculation that one of the two teams that have both 1) a head coaching vacancy and 2) a young quarterback might show immediate interest in the 45-year old coordinator. Can Bill Polian overlook his lack of a good relationship with McDaniels and advise that the Bears bring him in to mentor Justin Fields? Will McDaniels decide that he can handle working for Trent Baalke and agree to take Trevor Lawrence under his wing? Keep track of McDaniels and other candidates in our 2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/13/22

Today’s updates for the reserve/COVID-19 and practice squad/COVID-19 lists:

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Football Team

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/6/22

Here are the Thursday additions and subtractions from teams’ reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Bears Place Justin Fields On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Bears will very likely not have their rookie signal-caller available for the season finale against the Vikings. Quarterback Justin Fields has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). 

Fields has appeared in 12 games this year, including 10 starts. For the most part, though, it has been a rookie season to forget; Fields has a 2-8 record, a completion percentage of 58.9% and more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (seven). While he has added 420 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries (for a healthy average of 5.8 yards per attempt), he’s also been sacked 36 times and taken a number of big hits while keeping the ball himself.

Assuming Fields is unable to play, look for Andy Dalton to get the start, as he did in Week 17’s 29-3 win over the Giants. In that case, Nick Foles would again dress as the backup. Dalton has been about what could be expected in the twilight of his career, posting a 3-2 record, 61.7% completion percentage and even (7:7) touchdown-to-interception ratio in five starts this campaign.

Given the uncertainty around Head Coach Matt Nagy beyond Sunday, this news could very well mean Fields has played his final game before a replacement coach is brought in. The 6-10 Bears end a disappointing 2021 season in Minnesota, against the 7-9 Vikings.

Bears To Start Nick Foles In Week 16

Nick Foles‘ anonymous 10th season will include at least one start. The Bears will give their usual third-stringer the keys Sunday, with Andy Dalton out and Justin Fields dealing with an injury.

Fields is not certain to miss the game. Matt Nagy, however, said the first-round rookie would be a game-time decision to suit up as the backup. The Bears ruled out Dalton due to injury.

This will be Foles’ first start since Week 10 of last season. Nagy summoned Foles to replace Mitchell Trubisky in Week 3 of last year but then moved Trubisky back into the lineup after Foles began to struggle. Trubisky finished the season as Chicago’s starter, and the team signed Andy Dalton in March. The Bears’ Fields pick in April moved Foles into trade rumors, but nothing materialized. The former Super Bowl MVP has not taken a snap for the Bears this season.

Fields was limited in practice Wednesday but sidelined for the team’s two subsequent workouts this week. After a previous injury, Fields returned to the starting lineup in Week 14 against the Packers. He played throughout Monday’s loss to the Vikings. Nagy has said Fields is his starter when healthy, but the missed practices will lead to Fields either suiting up for an emergency role or not dressing for the team’s game against the Seahawks.

Following his Super Bowl MVP outing, Foles finished the 2018 season as the Eagles’ starter and led them on a late-season rally to the playoffs. He then beat the Bears in the “double doink” wild-card game. The Jaguars gave Foles a starter deal in 2019 but traded him after one season. Foles’ reworked Bears contract runs through next season.

Nagy: Justin Fields To Start When Healthy

With Matt Nagy still running the Bears, he will continue to center his offense around Justin Fields. This comes days after the fourth-year HC did not answer a question regarding Fields’ status as Chicago’s QB1 when healthy.

Although Andy Dalton played well in relief of Fields against the Ravens and topped 300 yards against the Lions in Thursday’s narrow win, the Bears will go back to Fields — when he recovers from his rib injury.

[RELATED: Bears Unlikely To Fire Nagy During Season]

Though Nagy confirmed Friday that Fields will replace Dalton and be the Bears’ starter for the rest of the season, when he is able, the rookie quarterback is dealing with cracked ribs. It is unclear when Fields will return, but the rib trouble is not believed to be especially serious. Still, it would certainly make sense if Chicago was cautious with its first-round pick.

The Fields-Nagy-Bill Lazor partnership has not gone too well, with the rookie struggling and ranking last (among qualified quarterbacks) in Total QBR. The Ohio State product has completed 58% of his passes and holds a 4-to-8 TD-INT ratio. The Bears rank 29th in scoring offense and 31st in total yards, increasing the temperature on Nagy’s hot seat.

During his most recent full-game performance, however, Fields averaged 10 yards per attempt and totaled seven 15-plus-yard completions — tied for the most by a Bears quarterback in the past 15 years. While Fields was less effective against the Ravens in Week 11, the 4-7 Bears plan to give their prized prospect more work down the stretch.

Injury Notes: Fields, Saints, Seahawks

It sounds like Andy Dalton will be back in the lineup for the Bears on Thursday night. The veteran quarterback is expected to get the start for Chicago later this week, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).

Rookie Justin Fields is currently dealing with a rib injury, thrusting Dalton back into the starting lineup. The 34-year-old has barely seen the field since starting Chicago’s first two games. Since then, Dalton has appeared in two contests, completing 12 of his 24 pass attempts for 209 yards and two touchdowns.

Fortunately, it sounds like it’s more of a timing thing for Fields than anything else. The rookie spent the day undergoing more testing on his rib injury, but the turnaround time will ultimately keep Fields out of the lineup. Rapoport adds that the young QB has “been making major strides,” and it sounds like he’ll be back for the Bears before long. Fields has started eight of his 10 games this season, throwing four touchdowns vs. eight interceptions.

More injury notes from around the NFL:

  • Saints tight end Adam Trautman had a career day yesterday, but it came at a cost. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that Trautman suffered a sprained MCL that will keep him sidelined for the next four to six weeks. Presumably, the former third-round pick will end up seeing a stint on the injured reserve. Trautman had a standout game on Sunday against the Eagles, finishing with five catches for 58 yards and one touchdown.
  • Saints defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson landed on injured reserve a few weeks back, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be sidelined for much more than the three required weeks. Rapoport tweets that Garden-Johnson’s expected recovery time from his foot injury is only three to four weeks. The 23-year-old started each of the Saints first seven games this season.
  • Saints quarterback Jameis Winston underwent surgery on his ACL earlier this month, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that the procedure “did not include an MCL repair.” While there was damage to the MCL, doctors believe the ligament was still strong enough to heal on its own.
  • Seahawks rookie cornerback Tre Brown is likely done for the season, as Pete Carroll acknowledged that Brown will likely require season-ending knee surgery. “This is just the day after and it looks like surgery is imminent,” Carroll said (h/t Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “Yeah, so he would be [done for the year].” The fourth-round pick has gotten into five games (three starts) this season, collecting 10 tackles and one pass defended.

Nagy: Andy Dalton Is Starter When Healthy

Andy Dalton returned to practice Wednesday, going through the Bears’ workout in a limited capacity. And Matt Nagy has not changed his depth chart at quarterback.

The player the Bears promised would begin the season as their starter will remain so going forward, once he returns to full strength. Dalton suffered a knee contusion in Chicago’s Week 2 win over Cincinnati.

In regards to the depth chart with them, Andy is the 1, Justin’s the 2, Nick is the 3,” Nagy said of his Dalton-Justin FieldsNick Foles depth chart (via ESPN.com’s Field Yates, on Twitter).

Although Dalton’s injury moved Fields into the lineup, he trudged through an abysmal day in Cleveland. The No. 11 overall pick took nine sacks and completed 6 of 20 passes. First-round rookies rarely give jobs back after ascending to staring roles; Mitchell Trubisky moved into Chicago’s starting lineup in Week 5 of his rookie year and made every subsequent start in 2017. Fields’ performance may have opened the door for Dalton to stay in the picture. Fields was also uneven in his debut against the Bengals, following Dalton’s injury.

After suffering a right thumb injury, Fields practiced fully Wednesday. Foles is not on Chicago’s injury report but does not appear to have re-entered the equation for a possible starting role. The trade candidate remains in a third-string position to begin his age-32 season.

Nagy also indicated the Bears have had conversations about their play-calling role, though no decision has been made. Chicago ranks last in total yards and 31st in points through three games. Nagy gave OC Bill Lazor play-calling responsibilities amid a swoon last season, and the Bears — albeit against favorable opposition — made a late-season run to reach the playoffs. Nagy took back the play-calling reins this offseason. Lazor was Dalton’s OC in Cincinnati from 2017-18 and his position coach in 2016.

Bears To Start Justin Fields

The Bears will start Justin Fields on Sunday, head coach Matt Nagy announced (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com). The rookie will start in place of the injured Andy Dalton with Nick Foles serving as the No. 2 quarterback. 

This will be a temporary arrangement, according to Nagy. “When Andy is healthy,” the head coach said. “He’s our starter.”

Dalton was knocked out of Sunday’s win over the Bengals and an MRI confirmed a bone bruise in his knee. That shouldn’t shelve the veteran for too long, though he hasn’t been stellar so far this year. His performance in the Week 1 loss to the Rams was rough and, even though he looked a bit better on Sunday, Fields’ upside cannot be ignored.

Before exiting, Dalton completed nine of his 11 passes for 56 yards and one touchdown. Meanwhile, Fields completed both of his pass attempts and rushed for a touchdown in Week 1. In fairness, the first-round pick wasn’t as strong this past weekend — he completed only six of his 13 pass attempts for 60 yards with one TD and one fumble.

Despite Nagy’s assertion, a strong showing from Fields could change quickly. If he takes the helm, he’ll be just the fifth Round 1 QB to be the primary starter of his club since 2011, following Patrick Mahomes, Jake Locker, Johnny Manziel, and Paxton Lynch.

Latest On Bears QB Andy Dalton

Bears quarterback Andy Dalton was knocked out of yesterday’s win over the Bengals, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport confirmed (on Twitter) that an MRI confirmed a bone bruise in the veteran’s knee. No official determination has been made about Dalton’s status for next weekend’s game against the Browns.

Dalton wasn’t great during the Bears’ Week 1 loss to the Rams, but he looked a bit better on Sunday. Before exiting with his injury, the veteran completed nine of his 11 passes for 56 yards and one touchdown. Meanwhile, after Justin Fields completed both of his pass attempts and rushed for a touchdown in Week 1, the first-round pick completed only six of his 13 pass attempts for 60 yards yesterday. The rook also threw an interception and had a fumble.

The Bears depth chart seems a bit unpredictable at the moment, and coach Matt Nagy didn’t do much to help the matter this afternoon. When asked to reveal who would start Week 3 if both QBs are healthy, the head coach gave a head-scratching answer.

“That’s something that I’m not going to get into with scheme,” Nagy said (via Andrew Siciliano of NFL Network on Twitter).

Later, a team official clarified that Nagy had misinterpreted the question and that Dalton would remain the starter, if healthy (via ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson).