NFC Notes: Bears, 49ers, Vikings


Bears’ HC Matt Nagy is sticking with his plan to have QB Andy Dalton as Chicago’s starting quarterback, even after drafting Ohio State QB Justin Fields.

Nagy says that Dalton is essentially a rookie as he learns a new playbook with the Bears. He also understands the excitement surrounding Fields and what he can possibly do if given the chance.

“Andy is the starter,” Nagy said via NFL Media’s Adam Maya. “Andy’s going to get the one reps. He is essentially like a rookie as well. I know that time is the biggest question right now for Justin, and I completely understand that, because there is excitement. There is that want for all of us to see what Justin can do. We’d be lying to you if we didn’t say that or believe that. But we’ve got to make sure as we go through this thing that we also do what’s best for the Bears and for Justin.”


One key reason the 49ers are so bullish on their prospects in 2020 is the return of star DE Nick Bosa, who missed nearly all of his second season with a torn ACL. 

“[Bosa’s return] is huge,” 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan told Michael Irvin on Irvin’s podcast, via’s David Bonilla. “There’s lots of good players in this league, and Nick’s only played one year. But I think everyone saw the type of player he is now and that he was his rookie year. Everyone saw that in college. He didn’t play a ton then, missing that last year and stuff. But when you have a guy at that level, and there’s not a ton of them, it changes who you are.”

San Francisco has built its defense around being strong on the defensive line, which worked great in 2019 when they made it to the Super Bowl when Bosa was a rookie. They see the same potential if Bosa can take a step forward from his nine-sack debut. 

“Not comparing these guys, but the type of level guys are, if the Rams don’t have Aaron Donald, that’s going to be different,” Shanahan said. “If Denver loses Von Miller, it’s going to be different. There’s just guys on the D-line that there’s a few that are different. How J.J. Watt was in Houston, it changes everything. And when you can get good players around people like that, and you can have a good scheme, it’s tough to mess with because there’s not people in the league that can block those guys. You can hold on, and you can try to scheme and stuff so you limit the opportunities, but those dude’s aren’t getting blocked. It’s a matter of time. So, you better make sure it’s not a one-dimensional game. You better make sure they’re playing run, playing pass, playing play-action, playing keepers, because if not, and those dude’s tee off, it’s over. That’s when they’ll get the MVP.”

  • The 49ers had over 80 players report to the team for offseason workouts. (Matt Maiocco)


The Vikings elected to release former LT Riley Reiff in a move to save salary this offseason. Minnesota drafted a hopeful replacement in the first round, picking up former Virginia Tech LT Christian Darrisaw. The hope is he steps in right away and is even an upgrade over Reiff. 

“He’s a hard worker and really athletic and can get out in space and do the things that we like to do,” Vikings HC Mike Zimmer said via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “I think the addition of not just run blocking but being able to pass protect is big as well.”

However, Darrisaw understands that nothing is promised to him. 

“If I come out here and I do my job and get better every day, that chance is there for me to step up into that role,” Darrisaw said. “But if I don’t come out there and do what I’ve got to do, I know that it’s going to digress me and I’m not going to be in that role. I try to just block all that out and focus on every day, not try to look too far ahead and don’t look backwards at all.

“Even if I have a bad day I feel like tomorrow we’re going to wake up and have a better one. I really try not to look at (expectations) too much, but I know there’s a chance, for sure, and I’m working my tail off to hopefully be in that starting role Week 1.”

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