It won’t be a battle of 2021 first-round quarterbacks Sunday when the 3-8 Chicago Bears take on the 6-4 New York Jets at MetLife Stadium (noon, Fox-32).
Jets starter Zach Wilson? Benched for Mike White. Bears starter Justin Fields? Officially inactive with a left shoulder injury.
Here’s what to know as kickoff approaches — including the updated QB news.
After an hour of pregame confusion, Trevor Siemian started at quarterback for the Bears on Sunday.
Bears media relations staff said about 45 minutes before game time that Siemian injured his oblique during pregame warmups and third-string quarterback Nathan Peterman would start instead.
But about 10 minutes before the game, a Bears staffer said Siemian might start after all. The Bears opened the game on defense and gave up a touchdown. After the ensuing kickoff, Siemian entered the game and led the Bears on a 71-yard drive that ended with Cairo Santos’ 22-yard field goal.
All three quarterbacks warmed up on the field about 90 minutes before kickoff, with Siemian taking most of the reps first. Starter Justin Fields, who has been dealing with a left shoulder injury, was declared inactive during those warmups. About 50 minutes before kickoff, the Bears announced Siemian’s injury.
But Siemian returned during team warmups and took reps with the first team, setting up his return.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus has been evasive with injury updates this season for what he said are competitive reasons.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields officially is inactive against the Jets due to a separated left shoulder. Trevor Siemian will start for the Bears for the first time, while Nathan Peterman will be his backup.
The Bears listed Fields as questionable leading up to the game after he was limited in practice all week because of the injury he suffered in the final minutes of the Week 11 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Fields warmed up on the field less than two hours before game time with Siemian and Peterman, but he took most of the reps third.
Also inactive for the Bears are cornerback Kyler Gordon, safety Jaquan Brisker and linebacker Sterling Weatherford, who are all out with concussions. Wide receiver N’Keal Harry and offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and Ja’Tyre Carter are healthy scratches.
For the Jets, quarterback Zach Wilson, running back James Robinson, wide receiver Jeff Smith, tight end Kenny Yeboah, defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins, cornerback Bryce Hall and safety Tony Adams are inactive.
Change it up
Don’t worry, Cole Kmet said, Trevor Siemian will not take it as an insult if you say he is unlikely to keep the ball on a zone read and motor 60 yards through the Jets defense Sunday.
“Definitely more of a drop-back guy, get the ball out, timing,” Kmet said. “We’re not going to be running QB power with Trevor.”
The Bears offense figures to take on a different look if Siemian is called on to replace Justin Fields, who is questionable with a separated left shoulder suffered on a quarterback sweep near the end of Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Two sources told the Tribune that Siemian is likely to start. ESPN also reported late Saturday that the Bears are expected to start Siemian over Fields, while NFL Network said Fields would warm up Sunday but the Bears playing him is a “long shot.”
It’s also likely to look different if Fields plays. The Bears surely don’t want to put him at risk of making the injury — which includes a partially torn ligament — worse. With either quarterback, the Bears likely will need to throw the ball more.
4 key questions
The Bears on Sunday will play at MetLife Stadium for the second time this season, facing the Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. They lost to the Giants 20-12 in Week 4.
As the game approaches, our team of writers digs in to four key topics surrounding the 3-8 Bears.