While they already draw several comparisons, the situations they’re both in are awfully similar as well. This makes the question of who will start first quite difficult to answer.
Both quarterbacks arrive at teams that narrowly missed the playoffs last year. They both were brought in to replace struggling and one-dimensional veterans. They also both have above-average offensive weapons to work with.
The Case For Lance
Trey Lance had received a lot of high praise recently as he played his first, first-team rep with the 49ers offense. He completed 14 straight passes and put on quite the highlight reel of throws. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has been adamant that veteran Jimmy Garoppolo is still the starter, and for good reason too. Lance, the 3rd overall pick, only played one full season at North Dakota State at the Division 2 level.
He’s arguably the rawest quarterback coming into this season, so allowing him to sit back and learn for some time would be highly beneficial. Garoppolo has struggled to stay healthy and produce on the field recently, and I believe it’s only a matter of time until Lance takes the field.
The Case For Fields
On the other hand, Justin Fields has been making a lot of noise in Chicago too. Fields has made some incredible on-the-move throws in training camp. He also has shown a high level of awareness and has corrected teammates when they line up wrong in the formation. Fields is coming off of an incredible season at Ohio State after leading them to the CFB playoff.
However, veteran newcomer Andy Dalton has shown promise as well in training camp. Bears head coach Matt Nagy has already said that Dalton will be the Week 1 starter. Dalton has been on the decline the last few seasons but hopes to turn it around with the Bears.
Overall, I think both of these quarterbacks will see a considerable amount of playing time this season. I would say Lance will start first over Fields, due to Garoppolo showing more signs of weakness than Dalton. Also, the 49ers have a more playoff-ready roster than the Bears do, so I think they’ll be less patient and they will try and get their top pick on the field as soon as possible.