Justin Fields has looked the part so far in Chicago Bears practices. At rookie minicamps, he gave the first signs of his self-confidence and obvious physical talent. That has only grown since moving on to OTAs where he had his first chance to work with several team veterans. The first impressions from several players certainly haven’t disappointed. Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet both sounded quite excited about the idea of playing with the young QB.
His most recent practice may have offered the best evidence yet. While Andy Dalton struggled with three interceptions on the afternoon, Fields had the highlight of the day. A bomb down the sideline to wide receiver Damiere Byrd for a touchdown. Yet according to Adam Jahns of The Athletic, that wasn’t the only thing that stood out. The rookie did something else that indicated not only his leadership qualities but also his rapid mastery of the Bears’ playbook.
“What felt more than noteworthy were the orders Fields was giving his teammates — including veterans of Nagy’s offense — as practice played out. He got his receivers into the right alignments during 7-on-7 drills and later noticed that the right personnel wasn’t in his huddle a play call, then waited for it.
Add it all up and throw in the deep ball, and Fields was clearly showing some command.”
This is the part of Fields’ game that people rarely talked about.
They were so focused on his obvious physical skills that they didn’t take time to assess just how smart he is. While the offense at Ohio State is “college-level” it is still known for being complex and difficult to grasp. That Fields was able to do so despite having been a transfer from Georgia in 2019 should give you an idea of how good he is at absorbing and retaining information. He’s only been practicing in the Bears’ system for a month.
Yet he already understands proper personnel, alignments, and other key facets. If he is this on top of things already, there is no telling how much better he’ll get with more time. The trick for every NFL quarterback is marrying the physical attributes with the mental acuity. Bears QBs of the past too often had enough of one but not of the other. It certainly seems like Fields has both.
Justin Fields clearly isn’t letting Dalton have it easy
All reports out of Halas Hall suggest the rookie is playing his role well. He’s not making waves of any sort, keeping his mouth shut, and doing what he is told. However, the kid is also keeping the promise he made last month. The one about his full intentions to pursue the starting job. Something he thinks every player on a team should do. He doesn’t have to openly demand the spot. He’ll let his performance in practice do that.
His latest on Wednesday pushed things more in his favor. It didn’t hurt that Dalton had a rough day as mentioned above. Don’t expect any decision from Matt Nagy and the coaching staff though. It’s June. No team makes such an important call before training camp has even begun. If Justin Fields wants to really state his case? Then make those same throws and calls in August with full pads against the actual Bears defense.
If he does that?
Then things will get really interesting. Nagy wants to give him as much time to acclimate to the NFL as possible. That said, he also has a responsibility to put the best players on the field. If the rookie makes it obvious he is superior to Dalton over the next 60 days? Then many fans will get their wish to see him right away come September.