Most national media and fans have remained focused on the Chicago Bears offense surrounding Justin Fields. By doing this, they believe new GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus have failed in their efforts this offseason. No significant additions were made to the personnel outside of a 3rd round pick in Velus Jones and a pair of second-tier free agents in receiver Byron Pringle and center Lucas Patrick. In reality, those people have missed the point.
When the new team brass arrived in January, they quickly came to a realization. Before the offense as a whole could be rebuilt, Fields himself also needed to be rebuilt. Too many problems with his overall game surfaced in 2021. The mechanics and fundamentals were far too sloppy, and he struggled to handle the speed and complexity of NFL defenses. So their mission became breaking the QB down and building him back up from scratch. According to Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog, his progress has far exceeded even their most optimistic projections.
“Since meeting and working with Fields, the new leadership has been overwhelmingly impressed. He’s already instituted those mechanical changes and looks comfortable with them. His command of the playbook in just a few months has allowed him to be a vocal leader both on the field and in the meeting rooms. His charisma is infectious – this is his team and the players around him are responding. The leadership loves everything they’ve seen from Fields since taking over the franchise. But folks, he still has to DO IT on Sundays. That’s all that matters.”
Justin Fields will receive plenty of help from better scheming.
Eberflus said in a recent interview with Rich Eisen that the Bears hope to protect the young quarterback through heavier usage of play action, quick passes, and screens. Thanks to a strong backfield headlined by David Montgomery, the team feels they have a strong foundation for a good running game. If the offensive line can be brought along to execute the new wide zone system under Luke Getsy, the Bears should be able to run the ball consistently.
That will make life far easier for Justin Fields. Also, don’t overlook the additions of Velus Jones Jr. and Trestan Ebner in the draft. Jones was said to be one of the best run-after-the-catch receivers in the class, so he’ll be a significant weapon in the quick pass game. Ebner made noise with his ability to catch passes out of the backfield at Baylor. So he’ll feature prominently in the screen game.
Again, everything points to this regime having a plan for their young quarterback. Plans take time to unfold.