NFC Notes: Bears, Packers, Vikings


Bears’ rookie QB Justin Fields says he embraces the developmental timeline set for him by HC Matt Nagy and supports veteran QB Andy Dalton beginning the season as the team’s starter.

“If I don’t believe in it, it’s not going to work out,” Fields said, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN. “My job is strictly [to] get better and be the best quarterback I can be and hope my team wins. That’s what I’m going to do whether it’s starting, whether it’s sitting, I’m going to do whatever is going to help us win.”

Nagy says that the team is excited about having Dalton as their starter, despite the fact that Fields is waiting to take over the job.

“Promises can get pretty crazy, but what we told Andy is that he’s our starter, and he knows that and that’s what Justin knows, that’s what Nick knows … so, that’s where we’re at,” Nagy said. “Our coaches understand that we all get excited about Justin Fields. We’d all be lying if we said something different. With that said, we’re excited about Andy Dalton too. And we know that if we stick to this plan that we have, that everything is going to be just fine.”

Fields knows there are still things he needs to work on as he adjusts to the NFL game, including calling plays from inside the huddle.

“That’s probably the biggest step up because at Ohio State we pretty much went no-huddle like 90-95% of the time,” Fields said. “Really, basic mechanics, getting in and out of the huddle, making sure I’m on top of everything, and just getting every little detail right.”

Nagy added that Fields can learn a lot from Dalton, and Fields agrees. He has already been asking Dalton several questions and has gone to dinner with him as well.

“Some of the stages that we’re at right now, which is very normal for a rookie, that we’re going through with Justin — Andy has already conquered that,” Nagy said “And it’s easy for him. That’s natural. That’s not something that we sit there and applaud him 100 times a day because he did it. That’s supposed to happen. So the offense, he has completely. He really has it down. So I think now it’s just trying to come to us and tell us what he likes and doesn’t like and now we fit all of that together.”

“I’ve learned a lot of things [from Dalton],” Fields said. “I mean, he’s talked to me a lot. I actually went to dinner with him and his wife. I mean, Andy and Nick, they’ve been awesome, probably bigger than you guys even know. Andy has just completely taken me under his wing. Any question that I have for him, he’s going to answer, even when I’m throwing. I think there was one day after OTAs, I was throwing extra after practice and he stayed out there specifically to see maybe what I was doing wrong. He was just trying to help me out. I’ve been in a situation like this [entering the season as a backup] before, and all I did was get better. So I feel like you can control what you can control and come to work every day with a positive attitude and a want to get better, then there’s no stopping you. I think when that time comes when I do get my opportunity, then I just would like to be ready for that moment.”

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer notes the Bears plan to give Fields extensive reps during the preseason. 
  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune explains the signing of DL Mike Pennel makes sense for the Bears due to the situation involving DT Eddie Goldman and how tough it is to find experienced defensive linemen after training camp. 


Packers first-round CB Eric Stokes said he is starting to understand where he fits in the defense and in the NFL.

“First and foremost is just (learning) the plays, to where, I’m getting way more comfortable with the plays and just understanding everything that’s going on,” Stokes said, via “Secondly, me learning how to play – me learning how to read and do all this stuff pre-snap from being off (the line) because in college I was really a press (corner). Coming here it’s like doing everything off-man, just getting way more comfortable doing that.”

Meanwhile, Packers DBs coach Jerry Gray believes Stokes has shown he belongs in practice, and playing with NFL players CBs Deandre Baker and Tyson Campbell at Georgia benefitted him.

“When you look at him, there were two other (high) draft picks really in front of him,” Gray said. “Tyson was a five-star guy who played on one corner and then (Baker) got drafted in the first round, went to the Giants, so I think he’s going to be a good football player for us.

“The first thing he has to do is understand how to play in this league. I think he has the attitude to do that.”


  • The Vikings announced they promoted Ryan Monnens and Jamaal Stephenson to Co-Directors of Player Personnel. They also promoted Mike Sholiton to Director of College Scouting, Reed Burckhardt to Director of Pro Scouting, Paul Nelson to Executive Director of Football Information Systems, Pat Roberts to Assistant Director of College Scouting, and the hired Chris Blanco as Assistant Director of Pro Scouting.
  • Some other promotions include Luke Burson to Senior Manager, Football Information Systems, Caroline DeFelice to Player Personnel Assistant, Jake Essler to College Scout, Mitch Johnson-Martin to College Scout/BLESTO, Chisom Opara to National Scout, and Kaitlin Zarecki to Special Assistant to the General Manager & Player Development Manager.

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