People aren’t sure where to stand on Justin Fields after the first week and a half of training camp. The young quarterback is working in the new offense under Luke Getsy. He’s provided some really nice highlights, but there have also been some miscues. Most of the media members watching him have said he still hasn’t stacked good days together. It’s been a mixed bag of good days and meh days.
Nobody has stopped to think about that for a second. People still have images of how bad Fields was last year, especially in the Cleveland and Tampa Bay games. Despite the pessimism, there hasn’t been a single hint of that player in practices thus far. Not even close. Coaches continue to insist he’s made significant strides. If you’re not ready to trust their words, then trust the updates coming from camp. Fields hasn’t thrown nearly as many interceptions in practice this year. There will be occasional ones, but they have never come in bunches as they did with Mitch Trubisky or even Jay Cutler.
One insider’s assessment stuck out.
Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Chicago has attended every practice of training camp. He talked about it on Unfiltered with David Kaplan. He was asked point blank about Fields’ progress and if the predictions of imminent doom were valid. Schrock was surprisingly optimistic. While the young QB hasn’t been perfect, he’s been easily the best thing at training camp this year, performing well despite poor protection and receivers struggling to catch the ball.
The sign of any good quarterback is an ability to still function in difficult circumstances. Fields has done that throughout training camp against what appears to be a defense that is still pretty good. Think about it this way. It would be a concern if this offense had multiple Pro Bowlers at wide receiver, tight end, and the offensive line like in Kansas City and Fields was playing like this. Instead, he’s making things happen anyway.
It isn’t about whether Justin Fields can be good.
There is enough evidence at this point to confirm that. It is about whether the Bears can put an offense around him that isn’t a joke. Darnell Mooney is the only truly good weapon he has right now in the passing game. Perhaps Cole Kmet takes another step forward. Outside of that, it’s a bunch of maybes with Velus Jones, Byron Pringle, N’Keal Harry, and Equanimeous St. Brown. Then there’s the fact he may have a rookie 5th round pick in Braxton Jones at left tackle while his center Lucas Patrick already has a broken thumb.
Justin Fields can be good this season. He has enough experience to build on from last year and is in a new system that will do a far better job of catering to his strengths. To become a star, though, he needs more help. That is an inescapable fact. Putting all that aside, it is okay to be excited. Bears quarterbacks have rarely been in the situation where they were the best thing about the offense during training camp.
Fields is doing what he must.
He’s making things happen. He isn’t at the complete mercy of the defense every day. That is a refreshing feeling. The 2022 season may not be must-see TV from a productivity standpoint for him, but it is a reasonable assumption he will look much improved.