One of the traits the best quarterbacks tend to have that is so overlooked? The ability to bounce back from mistakes during a game. Too often certain QBs commit a difficult blunder whether it’s an interception, a fumble, or taking a bad sack. Rather than just focusing on the next play, they get caught thinking about it too much. That leads to more mistakes and before long it’s too late to rescue the game. The Chicago Bears have seen this happen so many times with their quarterbacks. Could Justin Fields be different?
That is certainly the hope. The 11th overall pick didn’t have a reputation for repeated mistakes in most of his performances. If anything he had a tendency to do the opposite. Take the Sugar Bowl for example. At the start of the second half, Fields threw a tough interception against Clemson. One they turned into a touchdown. Rather than fester on the sideline, Fields came out and engineered a 91-yard drive capped by a 56-yard touchdown strike to essentially put the game out of reach.
Translation? When he makes mistakes, he’s quick to correct them.
That was evident during his final practice of mandatory minicamps on Thursday. According to Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports, the Bears focused on red zone work most of the day. Something that will be a theme going into training camp this year. Not a surprise since they were 22nd in red zone efficiency last season and 24th in 2019. Fields was thrown a bit of a curveball by the coaches when he got his first action of the day. It led to an interception. He didn’t seem to like that.
“Fields’ first throw in red zone work was a pick right into the arms of linebacker Christian Jones. It was a play they’d just installed, and Nagy and Fields had a little chat afterward…
…Fields bounced back in a big way. He hit for three touchdown passes during the red zone period, including one on the very next throw after the pick, lacing the ball in between two defenders to tight end J.P Holtz. The other big highlight of the day for Fields was hitting running back Ryan Nall on a perfectly thrown ball to the corner of the end zone.”
It sounds like the Bears coaching staff is testing Fields. Putting him through all sorts of different rigors, getting him used to the mental challenges of the NFL. The rookie has responded well by most reports. However, he still has work to do. This is a big reason why head coach Matt Nagy is keen on sitting him. Andy Dalton has done it for nine years. Getting a chance to sit back and watch could prove invaluable.
Justin Fields may have the mentality needed for Chicago
Playing in this city is difficult. Expectations are always high. Fans can be ruthless if the team isn’t playing well. Fields is enjoying the honeymoon period right now. That could change if he doesn’t play up to his talent level when his time finally comes. This is where that even-keel personality could serve him well. Nagy himself said he’s never too high or too low. That is exactly how somebody must think to survive in the NFL.
Having that short memory when it comes to mistakes figures to be a big help. Stories like this one offer huge encouragement. Mitch Trubisky had a bad tendency to stack interceptions in practice a little too often. That Justin Fields was able to bounce back so strong offers plenty of optimism. It is little wonder fans are so anxious to see him in training camp and the preseason.
They’ll have to wait a bit though.
With minicamps over, the team will break for the next month. Training camp starts on July 31st. Not that this will stop Fields. He made it clear he plans to return to Halas Hall about two weeks before camp begins to resume work. Another reminder of how locked in he already is. Dalton may be the guy right now, but the rookie clearly aims to make that decision a difficult one for his team.