Getty Bears quarterback Justin Fields is “doubtful” about playing on Thursday Night Football against the Panthers in Week 10.
The Chicago Bears will have to wait at least another week until quarterback Justin Fields is back in their starting lineup.
After the final practice of the week on Wednesday, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus confirmed that the team had not “medically cleared” Fields to return to the field and was holding him out for the Week 10 game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football will provide.
“He’s making progress every day, [but] it is not yet medically cleared,” Eberflus said during his Nov. 8 press conference. “[Tyson] Bagent will be our starter for this game and [Nathan] Peterman will support him.”
Oddly enough, however, Eberflus seemed to contradict himself when discussing Fields’ status on Wednesday. He initially told reporters that Fields would not play against the Panthers, but also said the team would continue his medical evaluations over the next 24 hours and “may” allow him to complete pregame practice on Thursday.
In other words, while the chance of Fields being cleared in time for the game against the Panthers is non-zero, the Bears plan to have Bagent start for the fourth time.
Another review for Tyson Bagent Benefits Bears
The Bears have excelled in the competition and are eagerly awaiting the return of Fields, their first-round quarterback, to lead their offense. However, from a long-term squad building perspective, it makes sense for Bagent to be given one last chance to start.
Bagent has been inconsistent, to say the least, in his three starts during Fields’ absence. He won his first career start against the Las Vegas Raiders, completing 21 of his 29 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown in their 30-12 victory.
Since then, however, the undrafted rookie’s completion percentage has dropped in each start – from 72% against Las Vegas to 60% against New Orleans – and he has thrown five interceptions and just two touchdowns in his last two appearances. He also fumbled twice in the last two games, losing the one he fumbled in the Week 9 loss.
Now, a four-turnover performance is ugly, but Bagent has also shown flashes of promise over the last four weeks. Even if he fails to hold his own against the Panthers and their fifth-ranked pass defense, the Bears should benefit in the long run by taking one last look at Bagent in the regular season before he moves back to the bench.
The Bears rule out Tremaine Edmunds and three others in Week 10
The Bears did more than just decide the status of Justin Fields on Wednesday. They also have four others – including three starters – suspended for Week 10 against the Panthers.
The Bears have ruled out center fielder Tremaine Edmunds (knee), right guard Nate Davis (ankle), fullback Khari Blasingame (concussion) and rookie cornerback Terell Smith (illness) for Thursday night’s game in their latest injury report. It will be the Bears’ second straight game with Edmunds and fourth straight without Davis, two of their biggest free agent investments from the 2023 offseason.
Luckily, it’s not all bleak for the Bears when it comes to injuries.
Starting tight end Cole Kmet, who did not practice earlier in the week, finished each of the last two practices as a full participant and has no injured status against the Panthers. The Bears also cleared rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson (ankle) and strong safety Jaquan Brisker (concussion) from their injuries for Thursday.
Additionally, the Bears named running back Khalil Herbert (ankle), wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (hamstring) and cornerback Josh Blackwell (hamstring) as questionable. All three players remain on injured reserve, but the Bears opened their 21-day window to return earlier in the week and were able to activate each of them before their kickoff on Thursday at 8:15 p.m. ET.
Jordan J. Wilson is a sports reporter who covers the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers for Heavy.com. He previously covered all levels of sports – high school, college and professional – for a variety of publications, including The Indianapolis Star, The News-Gazette, Springfield State-Journal Register and Peoria Journal Star. More about Jordan J. Wilson