Justin Fields is a perfectionist. That much has become obvious since he joined the Chicago Bears last year as their 1st round pick. His work ethic is on an elite tier. The quarterback is genuinely one of those first-guy-in-last-guy-out types. He even has competitions with teammates on how long they can stay in Halas Hall working. It is further proof of how competitive he is and how committed he is to getting better.
The number of stories about his dedication has continued over the past few months. It is staying up late at night with his iPad and watching film. It is bombarding his coaches with texts and calls asking for insight on the new offense. Teammates have drawn his anger during practice whenever they make mistakes. Rather than worry about correcting the problems afterward, he insists they’ll fix them immediately. There are no cutting corners with him.
After one practice last month, Cole Kmet found out how far this obsession went.
Conditions on the field weren’t ideal. The notorious Illinois weather was out in force, blowing stiff winds the entire time. As a result, Fields’ passes were knocked off course several times. He grew visibly frustrated by the time practice ended. Rather than worry about doing better the next day, the quarterback stayed on the field, continuing to work. He forced himself to learn how to throw in those conditions better.
“There was a day where it was windy as heck and he was upset because the wind was blowing like 30 miles an hour in. He’s out there like launching balls after practice. It’s definitely something that he works on, and you can see it.”
It is little things like this that make it easier to believe Fields will be a success in the NFL. He doesn’t accept his faults for what they are. He sees them as obstacles to overcome. It goes back to his intelligence as a player. Complaining about bad weather means nothing. He’ll likely see it more than once in his career with the Bears. He has to learn how to play in it if he wants to reach his goal of greatness.
Justin Fields has every incentive to play well in 2022.
Everybody that covers the NFL seems to think the same thing. Of all the second-year quarterbacks going into this season, he is the only one that won’t take a step forward. National media outlets feel the Bears did a poor job this off-season trying to build around their quarterback. Fields hasn’t expressed such misgivings. He feels the team has more than enough to be effective when the time comes. It isn’t a matter of talent. It’s more about everybody getting on the same page.
The Bears brought in a new offense under Luke Getsy. It is a variation of the proven wide-zone scheme having success in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Green Bay. Learning it takes time, though, and Justin Fields admitted the offense isn’t where it needs to be yet. There are plenty of wrinkles to sort out before things start clicking. Some may call him a pessimist. In truth, he is a realist.
This was always going to be a process.
The Bears aren’t devoid of talent. They have a 1,000-yard receiver, a 600-yard tight end, and a 1,000-yard rusher among their skill players. If the offensive line can play better than it did last season and keep Fields upright, he proved last year he can make enough plays to win football games.