Justin Fields isn’t dumb. He’s also not dense. He hears all the chirping from the media like everybody else. The Chicago Bears quarterback knows that most people think he will struggle in 2022. Some predict he’ll throw the most interceptions in the league. Others think he’ll throw the fewest touchdowns. Critics mask their reservations behind the idea the Bears have no talent around him. The wide receivers suck. The offensive line is an abomination. Fields has no chance.
While never one to get emotional, the quarterback clearly didn’t think much of those opinions. Bears media members got to ask him about it during his first press conference of training camp. When asked about the criticisms, he shrugged them off. In his mind, the ultimate goal was never to post great stats. The fantasy football people may want that, but his end game is far more critical.
He wants to win.
“I’m not really worried about showing the league anything, I’m just worried about winning games. I’m not trying to prove myself to anybody, I’m not trying to do this and that, take opinions into account. My job is to win games and, of course, make the playoffs. So I’m not worried about anything.”
Fields doubled down on that statement a few moments later. He was asked what it felt like to not dominate a season at quarterback for the first time in his career. Failure is something he isn’t used to. His response was the same. The goal is to get better and win football games. It is all about that Lombardi Trophy. He doesn’t think about what happened last season. He is only interested in learning from it and improving himself.
“I’m going to work until we get that Super Bowl Trophy. As long as I’m here, I’m going to work to help us win games and help us get better each and every day. Failure pushes me to go harder.”
There were glimpses of that even last season. Every time he played a bad game, he always seemed to follow it with a good one. The disaster against Cleveland was followed by his deep ball showcase against the Lions at Soldier Field. Then after his trial by fire against Tampa Bay, he had his heroic performance against the 49ers. Fields proved he could handle adversity. It is now a matter of toning down the mistakes.
Justin Fields has plenty of motivation and is getting more help.
People kept talking about his offensive line and how terrible it is. That changed over the past 24 hours. In that span, the Bears signed veterans Michael Schofield and Riley Reiff. Both were credible starters for top offenses in Los Angeles and Cincinnati last season. Nobody would mistake them for stars, but they instantly give the Bears’ front more depth and stability. Jason Peters said Fields could be special when he’s protected.
GM Ryan Poles will continue working hard to fix that problem. As for the weaponry? It isn’t elite, yet the widespread hate feels somewhat overblown. Darnell Mooney is a 1,000-yard receiver. Cole Kmet had a decent second season last year, while David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert are a solid combination at running back. It doesn’t rank among the best in the NFL, but the Bears have employed far worse units. Justin Fields can play much better in 2022 with this group.
He won’t have to do it himself.
Fields’ job is incremental improvement this year. Process the game better. Fewer mistakes and more big plays. Get comfortable in the new offense. Most importantly, do a better job protecting himself.