Rozner: Bears' Dalton already facing fierce rush

  • Bears quarterback Andy Dalton -- here playing for Dallas in January -- says he can't wait to get started with his new team.

    Bears quarterback Andy Dalton -- here playing for Dallas in January -- says he can't wait to get started with his new team. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 3/21/2021 5:54 PM

There's an awful lot going against Andy Dalton -- and he hasn't thrown a bad pass here yet.

Assuming there's fans in the stands in 2021 -- and Chicago being Chicago, we probably shouldn't assume anything -- Dalton won't exactly enter Soldier Field as a fan favorite.

 

You can start with his announced signing on the day the Bears were forced to release Kyle Fuller because of cap mismanagement.

Good timing there.

You've also got the Mitch Trubisky Truthers who still believe they were watching a Hall of Fame career unfold. They want his number retired -- alongside other great No. 10s like Bobby Douglass, Henry Burris, Todd Collins, Kordell Stewart and Peter Tom Willis -- and will never forgive anyone who takes his place in the huddle.

You have the memories of Dalton's poor performances in Cincinnati and Dallas that fans have seen from a distance, images that don't evaporate simply because he's wearing the home colors.

And then there's the continued disgust fans have for GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, not to mention the 16 offensive minds on staff now collaborating to make Dalton's stay here a positive one.

Most of that, of course, is not Dalton's fault. If he can walk and chew gum at the same time, and at least occasionally throw it to the right uniform, he will be an upgrade.

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That remains to be seen.

Problem fans have is there's no belief in the current regime, be it the front office or the coaching staff, so Dalton has much to prove before he's embraced by the locals.

"I'm coming in from the outside," said the 33-year-old Dalton, who started nine years in Cincinnati and 9 games for Dallas last season. "A lot of people don't know a ton about me and they're gonna get to learn a lot about me while I'm here.

"That's all I'm worried about. I'm here now and hopefully everybody gets a chance to see who I am as a player and as a person and see what we're going to be able to do with this organization.

"I'm excited about the opportunity. Obviously, there's been a lot of talk, but I'm not worried about any of that."

It is so perfectly Bears that they could have signed Dalton a year ago for $3 million instead of trading a draft pick for Nick Foles and guaranteeing him $21 million, but now the Bears have spent another $10 million on Dalton, with another $3 million available in incentives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Bears were never getting Russell Wilson and they weren't bringing back Trubisky, so their options were limited. They have boxed themselves into this mess and they saw Dalton as the least bad quarterback they could afford to sign.

Nothing like that sort of optimism to energize the fan base.

"I was in constant contact with everybody throughout this process so I knew what was going on," Dalton said. "When (the Wilson trade) wasn't happening and this worked out for both of us to come together, I was ecstatic.

"I was hoping that would be the case."

Dalton will have to forgive a fan base that was teased with the Wilson rumors and dreamed of bigger names, only to be left with Dalton, Foles and a rookie to be named later.

"I'm sure people have seen me from afar and don't know a ton, but hopefully people will get to know me as time goes on," Dalton said. "I'm a guy that brings a lot of experience, played in a lot of games, done a lot in this league.

"I'll do everything I can to help this team and this city, and bring a lot of excitement."

As for his choice, this was likely the only spot where Dalton would have been guaranteed the job as starter, for whatever that's worth and however long that lasts. The Bears promised Mike Glennon he was the starter and Glennon got precisely 4 of those in Chicago.

When members of the Bears front office and coaching staff speak, it's a bit less like cement and a bit more like the soggy Soldier Field sod.

"I had several options and I felt like this was the best fit for me," Dalton said. "This was definitely the place I wanted to be, and so once this whole thing got started, this was a great situation, a great fit.

"I'm excited to get to be a part of this group."

If history is any indication, it won't take him long to get over that.

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