Justin Fields missed the New York Jets game with torn ligaments in his left shoulder. Some felt there was a likelihood he could miss the Green Bay Packers game as well. Many believed the Chicago Bears should’ve sat him through the bye week, at least. Fields wouldn’t hear of it. He returned to practice last week and was a full go on Sunday. What followed was one of the best performances of his career, throwing for 254 yards and rushing for 71. It was further confirmation that he is morphing into a legitimate franchise quarterback.
That said, it appears opinions haven’t changed among many fans. They still think it’s unwise to let Fields keep playing for a team that is 3-10 and eliminated from playoff contention. It turns out the same can be said for league higher-ups around the NFL. Sports Illustrated insider Albert Breer spoke on ESPN 1000 about the situation. The feeling is the Bears have seen everything they need to see. Fields is the guy. Put him on ice and start preparations for 2023. There is nothing to gain from playing the last four games.
“I know those questions are being asked by other teams in the league. Why the Bears are playing Justin. I think the big thing for me if I’m the Bears right now, I think it’s five games left, is to make sure that whatever you do, you’re not putting him in a position where a good chunk of his off-season is going to be devoted to rehab rather than working and getting better.”
Sitting Justin Fields is logical but not plausible.
One has to remember what GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus have preached from the moment they took over. It’s about establishing a winning culture. People might accuse them of tanking this year, but that isn’t the case. They’ve been trying to win for weeks. What sort of message would it send to the locker room if they decided to sit Fields because they’re afraid he’ll get hurt? It will convince other players to stop giving their best so they can avoid injuries. That is the exact wrong mentality this regime wants.
Don’t forget Justin Fields himself. This kid is a competitor down to his bones. He wants to win every single game he plays. If he feels healthy enough, he isn’t the type to accept sitting. That is disrespectful to everybody else in the locker room and disrespectful to the game itself. So, don’t expect the Bears to sit Fields over the final four games. If he is healthy, he will play. That might perplex other teams. It shouldn’t. While winning won’t do much for the team over the remaining four games, Fields can still gain tons of valuable experience in this evolving offense.