Former MVP Knows When Justin Fields Will Likely Start For Bears

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Sep 12, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) points to the sky after scoring a touchdown in the second half against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Boomer Esiason knows a thing or two about playing quarterback in the NFL. He went to Pro Bowls. He won a league MVP. On top of that, he is among those players who was a high draft pick that had to sit early in his rookie season before becoming the starter. So he has a unique perspective to offer regarding this entire Justin Fields situation with the Chicago Bears. Especially given his close ties to Andy Dalton.



Esiason appeared on Parkins & Spiegel of 670 The Score to discuss the issue. He applauded the Bears for trading up to get Fields. Somebody he admires. When it comes to how head coach Matt Nagy is handling the situation by sitting Fields behind Dalton? He understands it. While everybody wants to see the rookie play, only the coaches know where Fields is at in his development. If they don’t think he’s ready, that is important.

“Only they know internally how much Justin knows of the offense. I know that he’s the new toy in town. Everyone wants to see him. I want to see him. But we don’t know what he is incapable of doing on the field from understanding everything about the offense. What I mean is it’s pass protections, it’s run checks at the line of scrimmage, it’s reading defenses, it’s not throwing the ball up arbitrarily into triple coverage…whatever it may be.”

This is a valid point.

Esiason isn’t the first one to voice it either. Other former QBs including Kurt Warner have said the same thing. Those things are vital to the success of an NFL quarterback and they take time to learn. There is a genuine risk in tossing a young kid out there with his head swimming. Fans saw examples of it in Week 1 for two other 1st round quarterbacks.

“What they want is to see their new kid out on the field. But if that new kid does not really know everything that he’s supposed to know, he could get hurt. I’m telling you I saw that yesterday from both Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence. Those guys are going to be terrific players. You call tell. But they also took some just brutal shots that they will never take once they figure all of this out.”

It’s the truth.

Lawrence was pressured 17 times by Houston, getting sacked once and hit three other times. It was even worse for Wilson. Carolina pressured him 32 times with seven sacks and five hits on him. That is exactly what the Bears want to avoid. If a young QB starts taking too many shots, it can impact their overall game. They start getting skittish and hearing footsteps in the pocket. That is why Esiason thinks Nagy has the right idea by deploying Fields a few plays each game. He also has a certain date in mind for when the rookie may start.

“If you’re going to deploy him a little bit here and a little bit there, then I think that’s safe you kind of get him in the mix. He kind of feels what a real game is like. Then by week five or six, if things aren’t going well offensively, then he takes over and the year is his and he’s got to develop for next year.”

Esiason isn’t wrong about this Justin Fields situation

After all, his first start came in Week 6 back in 1984. It seems like an NFL team uses the first month of the season to gauge where they’re at. If they’re playing well and winning some games? Then the current starter will remain in place. If things aren’t going well? Then turn it over to the kid to see what he can do. The Bears should know. They went through this exact same scenario four years ago.

They signed Mike Glennon, then drafted Mitch Trubisky a month later. Glennon was promised the starting job. He played four games, went 1-3, and Trubisky became the starter in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings. Already 0-1, there is a chance Dalton might be heading down that same road. If the trend holds, then fans can expect to see Justin Fields make his deputy either in Las Vegas against the Raiders or at Soldier Field against Green Bay. Just like Esiason said.



SOURCE© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.
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