The Chicago Bears have tried to find stability at quarterback for decades now. For one reason or another, it hasn’t happened. The closest they came was with Jay Cutler between 2009 and 2016, but even that time period was rife with problems. Now, Justin Fields seems to be the latest example of a promising talent who fails to realize his potential in Chicago. People are trying to make sense of how this cycle remains so consistent. One person who has seen it up close is franchise legend Devin Hester.
NFL reporter Kay Adams got to interview the future Hall of Famer about various topics. When the Fields situation arose, Hester seemed to share the same opinion as other former players. Fields isn’t the problem. The problem has been the Bears’ constant inability to put a stable offensive system in place. Fields is in his second offense in three years. Hester himself watched Cutler go through five different offensive coordinators. It is hard for a quarterback to flourish when he’s constantly having to learn new systems every one or two years.
Devin Hester has a point, but it’s never that simple.
System stability is vital to offensive success. That much is true. However, it doesn’t account for two potential problems. Maybe the quarterback isn’t good enough to execute it, or perhaps the coach running the system isn’t capable of doing so at a high level. This is the issue the Bears run into. They can’t be sure where the source of the problem is when these things go wrong. Mitch Trubisky wasn’t the problem; it was the coaching. So they changed the coaches. Then, it wasn’t the coaching that was the problem; it was Trubisky. So they drafted Fields. Are you sensing the pattern yet?
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That is why this process is so complicated. Finding a quarterback is only one piece of the puzzle. A team must also find competent coaches who can build an offense around his strengths as a player. Devin Hester is right on that point. Unloading Fields to bring in a new quarterback likely won’t help the problem. Firing the coaches won’t either. The best course of action might be maintaining the status quo. Give him and the system a third season to mesh while continuing to stack the roster around him. If it still doesn’t work, only then should they accept the need for a change.
Whether GM Ryan Poles follows this advice is up for debate. Seven games remain to be played. If the Bears end up with a top-2 draft pick, the odds of them passing on a QB again feel remote. Fields will control that decision with his play.