Tony Dungy has seen almost everything you can think of during his football life.
He has suffered from quarterback controversy. He knows what impending things look like and how best to deal with them.
Despite a strong performance by undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent in the Bears’ 30-12 win over the Las Vegas Raider, Dungy doesn’t see a quarterback controversy in Chicago…yet.
“I think you’re going to go back to Justin Fields. You have to because he’s your future,” Dungey said online.The latest episode of the Under Center Podcast. “But to steal a line from Danny Green, my old boss: ‘Nobody loses their job because of an injury, but sometimes you can’t recover 100 percent.’” Denny will say he’s not there yet. And he’ll come back when he’s absolutely right. But what I think it gives you is that you don’t have to rush Justin Fields back. If Bagnett comes out and plays the way he did this last week, and they win the game — yeah, you want to go back to Justin Fields, but you’re going to let him practice, make sure everything is absolutely perfect, because if it’s not, well, you can go another week. “Tyson comes back and wins another title. Now you have a tougher call. But I would say this is Justin Fields’ team when he’s healthy, but he’s got to be 100 percent.”
Bagent, a Division II Shepherd record-setting quarterback, went 21-for-29 for 162 yards and one touchdown in the win over the Raiders.
The 23-year-old ran the offense, was accurate, threw with anticipation, and avoided negative plays.
But it was something else that stuck with Dungy.
“Tyson Baigent has impressed me with his balance. That’s the No. 1 thing,” Dungy said. “People look at quarterbacks and they look at arm strength and, you know, touch and all that stuff. And that’s great. But what an NFL quarterback is about is knowing where the football is going, and throwing it to the right.” Someone, and then When things fall apart, what do you do when it doesn’t quite fit together? That’s what I saw from him, that it didn’t bother him. Things didn’t have to be perfect. He made good decisions. “I came away very impressed with his first start.”
Although there was no quarterback debate with the Bears, Dungy saw how the Bears’ offense worked with Bagent at controls and their success with that offensive scheme. If that continues, Bears coach Matt Eberflus could face an ambiguous quarterback picture when Fields returns.
Dungy has seen unknown men come in and take jobs away from supposed franchise men. It’s a tough decision to step away from the guy who is supposed to be the future, but Dungy believes it’s important to keep his finger on the pulse of the locker room.
“With quarterbacks, you know, when they have it and when they don’t have it, and you’ll see – Tyson Bagent, they might win, he might play well. But if he’s the reason they win, the guys know that, the locker room knows that, and now you’re going to have A different situation. I’m not saying we’ll get to this, or that we’ve gotten to this. But it will be very clear. It will be very clear.
“Kurt Warner came in the 1999 season. Trent Green was injured. Curt Warner started to catch fire. Let’s say Trent Green could have been back three or four weeks later. Well, you know, those players knew what they had in Kurt Warner. And “I think it’s the same with Brooke Purdy. You can see that in other situations. As a coach, you can do damage if someone gets the ball and you don’t play with them. “That might be difficult.”
For Dungy, Bagnett receiving an “extended probation” due to Fields’ dislocated right thumb could further complicate a situation that remains clear at the moment.
“If you spend three, four, five weeks playing this offense, that’s more pass-oriented, more traditional play and you’re winning, it’s hard to walk away and say, ‘OK, we’re going to bring Justin back and go back to this other offense that we ran.’ And I think the 49ers found that with Purdy. Hey, it does some things. We get him going, and we win. “We’re winning more. We keep winning. We keep winning. Well, you know what? He’s pretty good right now, so we’ll see. It’s only been one fight with Tyson Baigent, so we’ll see. But if he trains with another couple like this, that will make it “Difficult.”
The Bears were impressed with Bagnett during his first career start. They also managed him and didn’t put much on his plate in terms of vertical throws.
Tight end Cole Kimmitt called him a “very good quarterback play.” Wide receiver DJ Moore wasn’t surprised that Bagnett seemed unfazed in the moment.
It was a good win with Bagent showing that he is a backup midfielder capable of developing into something more in the future.
Dungy is clear about the Bears QB situation now.
“Justin Fields is your quarterback until proven otherwise.”
If Bagnett proves to be the better option — as Warner and Purdy did — the Bears will have to make a tough choice.
But we’re not close to that scenario…yet.
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