Justin Fields had a shaky rookie year, but the most important step in a young quarterback’s career development is usually their second year. Fields, who has become more of a vocal leader for the team, recently expressed where his offensive unit was at in terms of preparedness for the season, and they’re not all the way ready yet, according to Fields.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Fields told writer Patrick Finley that his offense was not yet prepared to play regular season games yet.
“I’m not ready for the season to start. I’m the type of guy that would like to know I’m prepared. So, right now, I’m just being honest. We’re not ready to play a game right now. And when that time comes, we will be ready. So, right now, no — not ready to play a game.”
During practice, the Bears offense ran scrimmages against the defense, and the defense dominated the day. According to Fields, the defense threw a lot at him. The offense was clearly outmatched, and it was obvious to everyone, especially Fields, that the offense was not ready as it stands right now. But the former Ohio State signal caller is very optimistic moving forward and claims they’ll be ready at the beginning of the season.
These are most likely some offseason struggles a team working with a new coach might face. Moving on from former head coach Matt Nagy to new head coach Matt Eberflus is expected to be a beneficial change for Fields as new offensive schemes are implemented this offseason.
The practices have shown that there is still much work to do with developing the offense, which will play a large role in helping Fields — who can use all the practice he can get — develop into the franchise player the Bears have needed for decades.
The second-year passer had a turbulent rookie year, to say the least. Characterized by inconsistent starting patterns, inconsistent play calling, and poor execution.
Former head coach Nagy took most of the blame for Fields’ deficiencies. The lackluster play-calling that Nagy would drum up for Fields led many to believe that Nagy either stopped caring about his job halfway through the season, or that he was looking to blame Fields for all of his own struggles.
But if we are being honest, Fields was never able to get comfortable behind center because teams would constantly throw a variety of defensive looks at him, which definitely confused the rook and limited his chance at success.
That’s why Eberflus and new GM Ryan Poles are tasked with creating the perfect environment for Fields to thrive in.
The 6-foot-3 dual-threat quarterback has a very large skill set, and according to many, if used properly can him into an All-Pro very quickly. But right now, the trajectory of his career is up in smoke, because the horrific rookie season he had was a byproduct of Nagy’s horrible chain of decisions on his way out of Chicago.
In his first year under center, Fields threw for a paltry 1,870 yards and seven touchdowns, against 10 interceptions. Fields also had a 58.9 completion percentage and threw for just 155 yards per game. In 10 games started, he had a record of 2-8, a 73.2 passer rating and a 26.4 quarterback rating.
Fields didn’t have the most jaw-dropping numbers (even for a rookie), but anyone who watches him can tell he has a lot of talent and intangibles to build on. He has the potential to become one of the great quarterbacks in the league down the line.
Hopefully, with the changes made in the coaching department and the early struggles Fields’ offense faced in the offseason, they will not only be prepared, but ready to take on any opponent that throws different looks at them.
This is a crucial second year for Fields. His development as a franchise QB is very important to a Bears team that hasn’t had a 4,000-yard passer in franchise history.