It’s always hard being a highly touted QB. Just ask Justin Fields. The Bears QB is on the verge of earning the bust label as his third season in the NFL has begin with truly horrific performances.
We’ve heard all the excuses, he has no weapons, the offence isn’t tailored to his strengths etc. But by this point, the Bears would’ve expected the number 11 pick in the 2021 draft to be showing signs of improvement. But he’s not.
In week 2 against Tampa Bay Justin Fields completed just 55.2% of his passes with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. He was so poor that PFF graded him a 49.1 (following his 49.4 on opening weekend). He ranks 29th out of 33 passers with at least 24 drop backs. The only QB’s behind him are Zach Wilson, Desmond Ridder, Kenny Pickett, and Bryce Young.
JUSTIN FIELDS NEEDS TO BE A BETTER PASSER
So far, the best we have seen of Justin Fields is rushing ability, and while he added another rushing TD on Sunday, taking his career tally to 11, he coughed the ball up twice, taking his fumble total to a staggering 32, and his third this season already.
But the Bears have largely curtailed his running after he picked up injuries doing that last season. But Fields just doesn’t look comfortable as a drop back passer, he needs to be moving outside the pocket and creating terror in the defence. Then he can pick his passes. So the Bears have a genuine dilemma on their hands.
This was something Justin Fields decided to express in a press conference this week, “I liked the times I felt like I was in a rhythm. Things I didn’t like. I felt like I was playing robotic. My goal this week is to say F it and just play football. That’s when I play my best when I am out there playing free. I am going to go out there and be me.”
Bears HC Matt Eberflus, of course, didn’t draft Justin Fields so may not feel he is as anchored to the QB as some in the franchise. And given the Bears are on the fast track to the number one pick, he may not be too bothered about Fields performances. However, Eberflus needs to be careful after guiding the Bears to 3-14 in his rookie campaign and ideally would like to be able to trade whatever high pick the Bears end up with for multiple picks.
Eberflus is publicly supporting his QB, defending Fields comments, “Hey, that’s the way he felt,” Eberflus said. “He felt that was the right thing to do. I always tell them, ‘Hey, if you think something’s right and you wanna do right, step up and do it. If you see something that’s wrong, something that you can help with, step up and say it.’ That’s how you be a leader. That’s how you be a man, and a team.”
As much as the Bears instincts are to protect Justin Fields, the truth is they need to let him roll and ball his way. Or he’ll likely never be an NFL calibre QB.