Despite his obvious talent, there is a reason Justin Fields fell as far as he did in the NFL draft. Some people tried to question his work ethic, which was always ridiculous. Instead, the primary focus was on his tendency to linger on his primary read at times. His ability to see the field quickly scared some teams off. Was it the only concern? Not entirely. There were some who had another issue they couldn’t ignore.
Fields’ pass delivery. Anybody who has watched the quarterback for long enough might notice that he throws the ball with a somewhat elongated throwing motion. One where his elbow sticks out before driving it forward. This is hardly an uncommon thing. Several quarterbacks have had this style before. So what’s the problem. Two things. Such a style can make delivering the ball with quickness more difficult and it also opens up a quarterback to more strip-sacks by pass rushers.
If people wonder why coaches insist on high and tight throwing motions?
That is why. It isn’t a major issue, but it is one that can hurt a team at the worst possible times. It is also one that Andy Dalton may have noticed during mandatory minicamps. Though the veteran quarterback doesn’t have the arm strength Fields does, his throwing motion is much more textbook for the NFL. The rookie seemed to indicate during his recent press conference that the 33-year old helped to instruct him on ways to improve.
“Andy’s completely taken me under his wing. Any questions I have for him, he’s going to answer, even when I’m throwing. I think there was one day after OTAs, I was throwing extra after practice, and he stayed out there specifically just to see maybe what I was doing wrong and he was just trying to help me out. He’s been a huge help for sure.”
This is a big reason why the Bears are trusting Dalton with the starting job. Not just because he is still a capable quarterback. Also because he has the exact mindset needed to mentor Fields on what it takes to survive in the NFL. The throwing motion was a little thing in college. However, little things can quickly get magnified at this level. If there is a way to improve, Fields should take it.
Underrated Justin Fields attribute is a willingness to learn
It would be easy for him to step into this situation and have an ego. He’s the 11th overall pick after all. He knows that starting job is eventually going to be his. Why should he bother taking advice from Dalton? It is a credit to Fields’ mentality as a person and as a football player that there is no such thing as too much information. He understands the veteran QB has done it in the NFL for almost a decade. He and Nick Foles are invaluable resources he can use to help refine his game, pushing himself towards greatness.
Does he want to play? Of course. No self-respecting competitor would say he’s okay with sitting on the bench. However, there is a plan in place as head coach Matt Nagy has said. A plan intent on helping ensure Justin Fields becomes a success. That involves learning the offense and learning how to operate as an NFL quarterback. If that could include refining his throwing motion, it makes an already talented player even more dangerous.
Never a bad thing.
Dalton certainly isn’t backing down from his other responsibility. That of fulfilling his role as the starter. Reports are he’s looked sharp in practices thus far. Not counting one or two hiccups that are typical this time of year. Nagy is hoping the plan will work out. One where Dalton plays well and buys Fields the time he needs to get ready.