The Chicago Bears are in transition, but quarterback Justin Fields may be getting the short end of the coaching stick again. With the team firing head coach Matt Nagy and replacing him with first-year head coach Matt Eberflus, Fields was supposed to finally have an offense that complements his skill set.
The team also terminated GM Ryan Pace and replaced him with Ryan Poles. During the Nagy and Pace tenure the Bears were built on a strong defense and average offense at best. They chose quarterback Mitchell Trubisky over the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in the 2017 NFL draft, and they never added a lot of real offensive talent to the roster.
In the 2021 NFL draft the Bears lucked up and landed former Ohio State quarterback Fields, who in many analyst’s eyes was the second-best quarterback prospect behind No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence.
Nagy chose not to get Fields early development and started journeyman Andy Dalton instead. When Dalton was injured, forcing Fields into duty, Nagy seemed to set him up for failure. Fields’ first start came against the Cleveland Browns, and he was sacked nine times.
The game plan didn’t look like it was designed for Fields to succeed. That outing was a microcosm of what was to come for Fields the rest of the season. The Bears’ lack of offensive talent has their former offensive coordinator Mike Martz questioning if Fields can succeed in “ChiTown.”
In an interview with “33rd Team,” the renowned offensive mastermind of the Rams’ “Greatest Show On Turf,” had this to say:
“Fields is a guy who makes a lot of mistakes and is not particularly accurate at times. He’s not a quick read-and-react guy, and he’s on a horrendous team. But I don’t know if I’ve seen an offense that bad in talent since the 0-16 Detroit Lions in 2008. They just don’t have anybody there. … It’s a bad football team right now.”
What Martin is saying about Fields is true, but show me any young quarterback that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Martz’s assessment that Fields processes information slowly can again be attributed to Nagy not catering his offense to suit Fields’ strengths. Fields saw action in 12 games last season, passing for 1,870 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He showed his dual-threat ability, rushing for 420 yards and two more TDs, but he also had 12 fumbles, five of which were lost.
The Bear’s Den, August 25, 2022. Mike Martz has a lot to say about Justin Fields and the Bears offense, none of it good. https://t.co/9MS9IKICHh
— Windy City Gridiron (@WCGridiron) August 25, 2022
Martz Says Things Are Gonna Be Rough For Fields In Chicago
Martz goes on to say things for Fields won’t get better unless Chicago upgrades its roster. He delves into how he’s seen really good players go to bad teams and never hit their stride.
“It’s going to be a rough career for Fields there,” Martz said bluntly. “And I’ve seen a lot of good players go to bad teams, and then their career never takes off, and I think that’s what will happen with Fields. It’s going to take a long time for them to get talent there. He needs to be on a good football team behind really good players for a couple years to learn how to play the position. And, when you put a guy behind a bad offensive line and you have no talent at wide receiver and you tell him to go out and make big plays, he’s going to learn bad habits. You start doing stupid stuff just trying to survive.”
LMAOO it’s definitely a good think Mike Martz doesn’t like him. Hall of Fame career incoming https://t.co/qVV3D8XVbi
— DaWindyCity Productions (@dwcprodz) August 24, 2022
Poles And Eberflus Have Their Work Cut Out For Them
The hope is Poles can bring some of what he learned under the tutelage of Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy daily in his quest to develop Fields and build the Bears roster. Eberflus is a defensive coach, but he earned his chops under Frank Reich in Indy, and he was the Cowboys’ passing game coordinator in 2016-17.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is a bright, young innovative mind who has some pieces to work with in running back David Montgomery, wide receiver Darnell Mooney, and tight end Cole Kmet. So the cupboard isn’t as bare as Martz insinuated, but it could use some upgrades and quality depth.
Mike Martz: “I don’t know if I’ve seen an offense that bad since the 0-16 Detroit Lions (2008). They don’t have ANYBODY there.
— Clay Harbor (@clayharbs82) August 24, 2022
The Bears are still the only NFL franchise to never have a 4,000-yard passer. Fields could end the streak at some point if they can keep him upright.