It won’t be a battle of the 2021 first-round quarterbacks on 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? Bench for Mike White. Bears rookie Justin Fields? Officially inactive with a left shoulder injury.
Here’s what you need to know as kickoff approaches — including updated QB news.
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After an hour of pregame confusion, Trevor Siemian started at quarterback for the Bears on Sunday.
The media relations staff carry said about 45 minutes before game time that Siemian injured his oblique during pregame warmups and that third-string quarterback Nathan Peterman would start instead.
But about 10 minutes before the game, a Bears employee said Siemian could 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 a 22-yard field goal by Cairo Santos.
All three quarterbacks warmed up on the field about 90 minutes before kickoff, with Siemian taking the first reps. Starter Justin Fields, who has been dealing with a left shoulder injury, was ruled 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, establishing his comeback.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus has been coy with injury updates this season for what he said are competitive reasons.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields is officially inactive against the Jets because of a separated left shoulder. Trevor Siemian will start for the Bears for the first time, while Nathan Peterman will be his backup.
The The Bears listed Fields as questionable before the game after being limited in practice all week with the injury 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 took most of the reps at third.
Also inactive for the Bears are cornerback Kyler Gordon, safety Jaquan Brisker and linebacker Sterling Weatherford, who have no hits. 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.
Don’t worry, Cole Kmet said, Trevor Siemian won’t take it as an insult if you say he’s unlikely to keep the ball in a zone read and motor 60 yards through the Jets defense on Sunday.
“Definitely more of a drop-back, get the ball out, timing guy,” Kmet said. “We’re not going to run QB Power with Trevor.”
The Bears offense figures to have a different look if Siemian is called up to replace Justin Fields, who is questionable with a separated left shoulder suffered from a quarterback hit near the end of Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Two sources told the Tribune that Siemian will likely start. ESPN also reported Saturday night that the Bears are expected to start Siemian over Fields, while NFL Network said Fields will warm up on Sunday but the Bears playing it is a “long spot.”
It’s also likely to look different if Fields plays. The Bears certainly don’t want to put him at risk of making the injury — which includes a partially torn ligament — worse. With either quarterback, the Bears will likely have to throw the ball more.
4 key questions
The Bears will play at MetLife Stadium for the second time this season on Sunday, taking on the Jets in East Rutherford, NJ. They lost to the Giants 20-12 in Week 4.
As the game approaches, our team of writers looks at four key topics surrounding the 3-8 Bears.