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What Can Chicago Bears Expect From Intriguing Rookie In First NFL Start?

Tyson Bagent starting in an NFL game as a rookie was something not many people saw coming—the Chicago Bears brought in the quarterback who starred at Division II Shepherd University as an undrafted free agent with meager expectations. Now, he will start in place of the injured Justin Fields for the team's week seven matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.

The 23-year-old finds himself in a spot many Bears' backup quarterbacks find themselves in, abruptly being thrust into a starting role. Bagent's path is distinctly unique, though.

How Did Bagent Find Himself In This Spot?

Tyson Bagent spent his college career at Shepherd University, a Division II school, where he was nothing short of dominant. Bagent set NCAA Division II records in career yards with 17,213 and career touchdown passes with 158. Not to mention his numerous school records on top of that. Despite his dominance in college, Bagent went undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, the Chicago Bears picked him up almost immediately as a highly coveted undrafted free agent.

Bagent began with the Bears listed as the team's 4th string QB behind Justin Fields, P.J. Walker, and Nathan Peterman. He was forced to fight an uphill battle to earn a roster spot immediately. The rookie held his own during training camp, but the real test would come during the preseason.

In the first preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, Bagent played sparingly, recording 37 yards on 4 of 5 passing. He did outplay at-the-time backup P.J. Walker, who registered 19 yards and one interception on 4 of 8 passing.

In the second preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts, Bagent strung together his best performance, notching 76 yards on 9 of 10 passing, four rushing yards on two carries, and a rushing touchdown. Bagent impressively looked efficient and composed in his limited play. He also again outplayed Walker, who went 1 of 4 passing for six yards. Bagent's performance against the Colts firmly placed him in the mix to take the team's backup quarterback role.

In the Bears' preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills, the rookie put together a solid performance, gaining 43 yards on 7 of 14 passing along with an interception; he added 22 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on four carries. He would end the preseason with 156 passing yards, one interception, 24 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns.

The rookie's preseason was impressive and showed enough, and the Bears released P.J. Walker in favor of Tyson Bagent. The undrafted Division II rookie didn't just make the team but beat out the other quarterbacks on the roster for a role. Something nobody expected.

However, as the season came around, Bagent spent the first three games as an inactive, with Nathan Peterman as the team's backup. Things would change quickly, though, as in week four, Bagent was officially named the Bears' QB2 moving forward.

It didn't take long for the 23-year-old to see his first action in the NFL. As in week six against the Minnesota Vikings, just his third game as the backup, Bagent was forced into action due to an injury to starter Justin Fields.

Bagent struggled in his first appearance in the pros. He was strip-sacked for a scoop-and-score touchdown in just the second play of his career. It wasn't an ideal start. The rookie later settled in after the rough start and made some solid plays, including his first NFL touchdown.

His NFL debut ended how it started, though, as a poor throw led to a costly game-ending interception. Bagent finished the day with 83 yards on 10 of 14 passing, four rushing yards on two carries, one touchdown, one interception, and one fumble. While there were many rookie mistakes, there were also many encouraging plays. Bagent went into the game unexpectedly and abruptly in week six, but he will have more time to prepare for week seven.

With Justin Fields officially out for the Bears in their week seven matchup, Tyson Bagent will make his first NFL. Expectations from fans will be high, but what should the Bears expect from him?

What Can The Bears Expect From Bagent?

Tyson Bagent is now at the center of the NFL world. He will make his first start, but nobody knows what to expect from the rookie.

For Bagent, he feels comfortable running the Chicago offense. The rookie said he told the coaches not to scale back the play-calls when he went into the game against the Vikings. Added he told them he was comfortable with everything on the play sheet.

Bagent has the confidence to run the offense, but it's doubtful the offense will run the same as under Justin Fields.

Going up against one of the top pass-rushers in the league, Maxx Crosby, with a depleted offensive line, getting the ball out quickly will be imperative. The short to mid-range passing game and taking advantage of the YAC abilities of D.J. Moore and Darnell Mooney will play a key role for Chicago. Bagent struggled to throw deep last week. So, seeing the Bears dialing up deep passes against the Raiders will be rare despite Las Vegas' weak secondary.

Justin Fields' running ability will be dearly missed, as Tyson Bagent's athleticism is nowhere near that of Fields. Bagent can take off in short-yardage situations, but that's about it.

The run game won't have an uber-athletic quarterback, but Chicago will likely still heavily rely on the run game. D'Onta Foreman and Darrynton Evans are two capable running backs that the Bears will use heavily. The blazing speed of Velus Jones Jr. will also likely be used in the run game. If the run game succeeds, it'll make Tyson Bagent's life much easier.

The offense will undoubtedly look a lot more different on Sunday with Tyson Bagent under center, and there's no guarantee the rookie will be able to succeed in his first NFL start. It's important to remember that he is still an undrafted rookie with minimal experience. This is why fans need to keep their expectations tempered.

With tempered expectations, fans won't be disappointed if Bagent plays poorly and will be pleasantly surprised if he succeeds.


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