Wednesday, September 20, 2023

People Inside NFL Absolutely Ripped Into Justin Fields After Tampa Loss


When he got to Chicago, Justin Fields got served a raw deal. The Bears were in a transitional period, trying to overhaul their roster under a new regime. It wasn’t easy trying to develop in those circumstances. That is why people were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt through a rocky first two years. However, expectations were elevated going into 2023. It was his third season and second in the same offensive system. He finally had credible weapons around him, too, along with a more talented offensive line.

It wasn’t unreasonable to expect improvement from him. Instead, the Bears have gotten more of the same inconsistency he suffered from last year. His performance in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have been the most maddening of his career. Fields took six sacks, but the majority of them came from holding the ball too long. He missed several open receivers by refusing to throw the ball. Then, when he entered the got-to-have-it situation in the 4th quarter, he threw a pick-six. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune spoke to a pro scout about the situation. The assessment was…unkind.

“He’s so late to read it,” one pro scout said. “You see all these plays and it’s not like there’s no one open. He won’t pull the trigger and it’s killing that offense. Six sacks today? The O-line isn’t the problem. There are perfect pockets and he’s not throwing it.”

The scout wasn’t alone.

Former NFL punter and current ESPN analyst Pat McAfee didn’t offer a flattering assessment either. He made it clear the only thing Fields is good at is running the ball, and he won’t even do that anymore.

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“The only good part of the Chicago Bears last year was when Justin Fields would run for his life and he’d be running all over the field… Now they won’t run him. The guy never runs, stinks at throwing, the defense had Baker Mayfield chop them up. I mean it’s hard times up there in Chicago for yet another year.

“I don’t know if you’re going to hold yourselves to one win this year. The Bears might have actually gotten worse.”

Last but not least is former Bears scouting director Greg Gabriel. He’s always been one to preach patience when it comes to developing young players. However, what he saw in Tampa Bay finally convinced him Fields wasn’t the guy.

Justin Fields can’t hide behind excuses anymore.

His offensive line played well enough for him to have a quality game on Sunday. They were credited with allowing 12 pressures all day. For context, Washington quarterback Sam Howell threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns without an interception against Denver. Howell is a former 5th round pick and was only making his third-ever start. That should tell you a lot about how disappointing Fields has been. His offensive line isn’t a huge problem anymore. His receivers are talented. The coaching isn’t ideal, but they’ve given him plenty of chances to deliver in the passing game.

Facts are facts. He can’t take advantage. Good quarterbacks would, even in difficult circumstances. Justin Fields is a tremendous athlete. He works hard. Nobody denies his commitment to the game. Yet, the evidence is becoming impossible to argue. The guy doesn’t have the necessary mental faculties to process NFL speeds. That isn’t a crime. It’s a common reality for most quarterbacks that get to this level.


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Sep 19, 2023 5:10 am

Either play him to his strengths and get the run and gun going, or move on from him. Stop with the drop back passer routine. He isn’t one.

Sep 18, 2023 9:25 pm

Welcome to the party. A few of us have been saying this the last couple of years

Sep 18, 2023 6:54 pm

Scheme stinks. Coaches stink.

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