In 2018, the Chicago Bears embarked on a search for a new head coach. Their task was clear at that point. Find somebody that could maximize the full potential of quarterback Mitch Trubisky. They ended up going with Matt Nagy. Simple enough. A former QB and understudy of Andy Reid. However, it has since been revealed that Nagy wasn’t a huge believer in Trubisky as a quarterback. He took the Bears job because he wanted it. Not because he was determined to work with Mitch. That led to a fractured relationship and soon the team fell apart. Now the franchise is once again hunting for a new coach. Almost the same exact situation too. This time with Justin Fields.
The assumption everybody made going into the offseason was any head coach and GM candidate the Bears met would have to commit to the young QB. They’d need to have some sort of conviction on him. However, something strange happened during George McCaskey’s press conference on January 10th. While he admitted to being an admirer of the rookie for his talent and work ethic, he also danced around the idea that it was nonnegotiable that Fields was the guy.
“We are looking for a general manager and a head coach who can develop not just the quarterback position but the talent around him, establishing a strong defense to help the quarterback, to bring the Bears to success. Justin will not be an active part of the search process but we will be very interested to hear from both general manager and head coach candidates what their plan is to get the most out of the quarterback position for us.”
The wording is quite interesting there.
McCaskey states multiple times he’s anxious to hear what the coaching and GM candidates have planned for the “quarterback position.” Not for Justin Fields. That might seem like reading a bit too much into it. However, when the team chairman was pressed on how he’d react if a candidate admitted to not being completely sold on Fields, his answer said more than he probably intended.
“Well, I think I’ve said before I don’t entertain hypotheticals. We’re interested in hearing what the candidates have to say about the development of the entire football organization and especially the quarterback position. We want to know what their plan is to develop that position for us.”
For those wondering, the answer is yes. A source indicated that some candidates the Bears have met with thus far stated they weren’t overly high on Fields. They had different ideas about what direction to go at quarterback. It isn’t clear how McCaskey or his interview team reacted one way or the other. Still, the exact scenario many wondered about has happened.
History might be driving this sudden Justin Fields uncertainty
Remember that McCaskey took over in 2011. In that time, he has overseen three changes at the head coach position. All three had the same thing in common. The coach was forced to keep the starting quarterback already on the roster. Marc Trestman inherited Jay Cutler in 2013. John Fox inherited Cutler in 2015. Then Nagy inherited Trubisky in 2018. By the time Fox and Nagy finally had an opportunity to pick their own quarterbacks, it was too late. Both were well on the road to being fired.
There is a strong possibility that McCaskey doesn’t want to do this again. Regardless of his personal feelings towards Justin Fields. In order to land the best possible GM and head coach for this franchise, he must be willing to leave the door open for a change at quarterback. While that might not make a lot of Bears fans happy, it’s important to remember where things stand.
Fields is anything but a proven commodity.
His rookie year was forgettable. Plenty of flashes but also lots of mistakes and way too many turnovers. Not to mention some worrying injury tendencies. There is no doubt he has the potential to become a great quarterback, but there wasn’t a lot of evidence to lean on this past year. That isn’t entirely his fault. Fields didn’t get much help, but it is important to remember the regime that believed in him the most is gone.