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Bears 'need more time' to name Sunday's starting QB

Bears quarterbacks Justin Fields and Tyson Bagent
Bears quarterbacks Justin Fields and Tyson Bagent

Bears quarterback Justin Fields continued to throw Monday during a light practice that consisted solely of individual drills. But his status for Sunday's game in Detroit won't be determined until at least midweek.

Fields has missed the last four games with a dislocated right thumb he sustained Oct. 15 against the Vikings. He likely won't be cleared to start versus the Lions until he participates in 11-on-11 drills in Wednesday's practice.

"We just need more time," said coach Matt Eberflus. "We need team work. We need that and we'll eventually get there. We're just not there right now."

Asked what he needs to see from Fields in drills, Eberflus said: "Just functioning in the game of football. That's the big part of it ... Once we see him in the game of football in terms of going against the scout team and all that stuff and taking snaps and playing full speed, then we'll make a determination, but it's not there today."

Eberflus has liked what he's seen from Fields in practice.

"[His throws] look good," Eberflus said. "I think he's in a good spot. Again, we'll know exactly where we're going to be probably more on Wednesday … in terms of him throwing the ball, it looks to be good."

Fields started the first six games this season, completing 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,201 yards with 11 touchdowns, six interceptions and a 91.6 passer rating. He also rushed for 237 yards and one TD on 47 carries.

Before injuring his thumb against the Vikings, Fields threw for four TDs in each of the previous two games, passing for 335 yards in a 31-28 loss to the Broncos and 282 yards in a 40-20 win over the Commanders.

"His best game of this year was the Washington game," Eberflus said. "You can certainly point back to that game and, man, that was a heck of a game to watch. He really did a nice job of managing that game, really delivering to our skill and letting those guys run during the course of that game."

While Fields has been sidelined, he has been replaced by Tyson Bagent. The undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd University has completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 859 yards with three TDs, six interceptions and a 71.4 passer rating. He also has rushed for 109 yards and two TDs on 23 carries.

Eberflus has been pleased with how Bagent has performed but is excited about getting Fields back due to "the experience factor, him being in there, understanding the whole offense … and then the ability to stretch the field vertically and horizontally in the run game as well … the ability to run in a drop-back pass or in a boot situation and really hurt you that way.

"There's a lot of things he really brings to the table," Eberflus said. "And again, when he's healthy, he'll be back. He's our starter."

Looking in the mirror

For the Bears, their mini-bye this past weekend following last Thursday night's win over the Panthers was all about individual and team improvement.

"With the bye week or mini bye, what we do is self-scout and we look at each other, offense and defense, and look at the individual, how they can improve, how we can improve our scheme," Eberflus said. "It's very important that we do that. We do that every single week. We're always self-scouting, but it's good to go ahead and reflect back on the last five or six games to see if there are any tendencies or any looks that you have that you can play off of in your scheme.

"We always do this every single mini-bye or bye week. We get two or three things that each guy can improve on, and those individuals were curtailed to that improvement today. And it's always the partnership of the coach and the player and the player and the coach to get that done.

"I always look at those things. I visit with the players about those periodically during the week to see how their checkpoints are and to see how they're improving on those things because we put a big emphasis on that ... Fundamentals and technique win football games, and it's about the individual really doing a great job with those fundamentals and techniques."