Mitch Trubisky wasn’t a terrible quarterback in comparison to others the Chicago Bears have had over the years. However, he was a frustrating one. Among the traits that were most galling about him was his passivity. For a kid who was nicknamed the “Pretty Boy Assassin” during practices his rookie year, Trubisky didn’t display that mentality often during his career. Especially in his later seasons. From the start of 2019 to the end of 2020, he had just nine games where he averaged seven yards or more per pass attempt. That isn’t a lot. It is undoubtedly a big reason the Bears targeted Justin Fields.
One thing that was abundantly clear throughout his college career between Georgia and Ohio State? Fields loved to attack. He averaged 10.7 yards per pass on his 618 total attempts between 2018 and 2020. By contrast, the #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence finished at 9.8. It is clear the Bears rookie is always seeking the big play. That was evident in his latest OTA practice when he hit Damiere Byrd for a long TD in what was the throw of the day. Nobody put it into words better than head coach Matt Nagy.
“Rip your heart out.”
That sounds about right. Fields did stuff like that constantly last season for the Buckeyes. His 17-yard strike to Chris Olave on 4th and 1 against Penn State. His 27-yarder to Garrett Wilson on 2nd and 13 against Indiana. Then of course there was his iconic 56-yard dagger to Olave against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. All of these throws coming in the second half of close games, don’t forget. Fields isn’t afraid to go for the throat.
That sort of mentality is sorely needed on this offense. Too often the Bears seemed to lack a killer instinct when they had a chance to take over games last season. They’d always let opponents hang around or even worse stay on top despite being the ones who controlled the game to an extent. This is a big reason why they suffered several frustrating losses.
Justin Fields doesn’t figure to be Mr. Checkdown
Which is exactly what Nagy wants. Remember what the head coach talked about the moment he took over the Bears in 2018. One of the critical elements to his offense was the deep ball. Nagy wants to attack. To take those deep strikes. So many of his craftiest play designs are built around that mentality. It is easy to lose track of how many times he managed to get a wide receiver wide open down the field. Sadly it too often didn’t matter because the quarterback could hit them.
Justin Fields shouldn’t have that problem. His deep accuracy was among the best seen in college football. If he gets proper protection, he is going to hit his guys down the field. It is a simple fact. His mixture of arm strength and touch is rare.
The challenge will be not wishing to rush things.
Nagy understands everybody wants to see Fields play right away. He himself seems quite excited about the prospect. However, his responsibility is to ensure long-term success. Both for the player and the organization. He thinks the young QB would benefit from learning on the sideline this year. It is hard to argue with that line of thought. The visions of Fields bombs to Darnell Mooney will have to wait.