Justin Fields was heralded as the savior of the Chicago Bears when he was drafted in 2021. Two seasons of tantalizing flashes led people to believe Fields would take the next step in year three and elevate into an elite quarterback in 2023. It finally felt like Chicago had a quarterback. However, two weeks into the 2023 season, time is beginning to run out for Fields.
Fields is in year three and regressing. This can be attributed to a lack of competent coaching, offensive structure, overcoaching, and his failure to improve brewing up this storm.
What’s going wrong with Justin Fields?
Hype Headed Into 2023
After a 2022 season full of exuberant highs and many lows, where he recorded 3385 all-purpose yards and 25 touchdowns, general manager Ryan Poles bought in and decided to continue rebuilding the roster with Fields as his franchise quarterback.
Poles made significant moves to bolster the offense for Fields. He added Chase Claypool at the trade deadline in 2022; in 2023, he signed OL Nate Davis, drafted OL Darnell Wright, and, most notably, added a true star receiver for Fields in D.J. Moore.
This new-look offense in Chicago had hopes at an all-time high. Fields finally had a competent offensive line and solid weapons with a proper No. 1 option in Moore.
Everything was coming together for the quarterback to break out in year three.
First Two Weeks Of 2023 Season
The first two weeks of the much-hyped 2023 season have been nothing short of disappointing for Fields. He has 427 passing yards on a 60.6 percent completion percentage, three total touchdowns, three interceptions, and 62 rushing yards through the two games.
While his numbers are not the worst, Fields has received criticism for his poor play and inconsistency. While the flashes are certainly there, the honeymoon phase is over between Fields and Bears fans, and consistent results are needed.
What’s Going Wrong?
Justin Fields has had many things go wrong throughout his tenure with the Bears, but those problems are becoming clearer this season.
The coaching staff has done their quarterback no favors. Head coach Matt Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy have done nothing but overcoach Justin Fields.
They’ve changed his throwing mechanics and dropback and have tried to make him a pocket passer by not tailoring the offense to his running ability. Essentially, they’ve removed what made Fields himself.
Luke Getsy’s playcalling has been a problem. Notably, as one of the most dynamic runners in the NFL, there have only been four designed runs called for Fields this season. However, the most called upon issue has been his overuse of screen plays.
Despite the poor coaching and play calling, Fields’s struggles have resulted from Fields himself. Missed reads and holding the ball too long have become common issues for the year three quarterback. Sunday’s performance showed an array of some bad missed reads from Fields. A big one was on a play inside the Bucs’ 30-yard line, where he had Roschon Johnson open down the seam, Tyler Scott open in the middle of the field, and D.J. Moore open on the outside to the left.
Any of these throws would’ve resulted in a gain, with Johnson being available for a touchdown. With Fields sitting in a clean pocket, too, it seemed like a play that would result in a touchdown or at least easy yardage.
Instead, Fields decided to hold onto the ball for too long and ran straight into the lap of DT Vita Vea for the sack.
This has become a recurring and concerning issue for Fields. Many other similar plays have occurred this season where he’s missed key reads or held onto the ball for too long, but we’d be here all day if we went over every single one.
Time Is Running Out For Fields
All the Bears’ flaws certainly don’t fall exclusively on Fields. The Bears’ offense hasn’t had consistency on the offensive line, and the play-calling has been poor.
Regardless, Justin Fields is making rookie mistakes in year three. Instead of improving, he might be regressing. That is unacceptable from a player you want as a franchise quarterback.
Fields have shown serious red flags through two weeks of the season, and it’s been more lows than highs so far. The honeymoon stage is over. If Fields keeps showing flashes of great play here and there, followed by inconsistency and poor play, he will be out of favor with the team sooner rather than later.
With the Bears holding two potentially high first-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft in a loaded quarterback class, the Bears could be gunning for Caleb Williams or Drake Maye if Fields doesn’t prove he’s the answer.
Still Time To Right The Ship
The first two weeks of the season have been disappointing for Fields. Luckily for the quarterback, there’s still a lot of season left.
With fifteen games remaining in the season, Justin Fields has time to improve and prove he is the franchise quarterback for the Chicago Bears. And Fields has shown some positives this season.
Plays on Sunday, like his 20-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool, where he let it rip and thread the needle in the endzone, or his connection with D.J. Moore flourishing, give fans hope Fields can still be the franchise quarterback for the Bears.
Fields has all the talent to be a great player in the league, and his teammates believe in him.
The coaching staff must realize that they shouldn’t force Fields to be something he isn’t. Let him ball the way he knows how to, improve his confidence, and results will come.
Bears’ cornerback Jaylon Johnson said it best when he made this statement:
“I can definitely say that I know he’s not himself. I know that he can definitely play the game at a high level. Now, the answer to why? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a lot of things going mentally. I definitely know it’s not a physical thing. He can do whatever he puts his mind to. I think it’s just him getting back to himself, getting back to what works best for him and not what works for anybody else or what everybody else wants him to do or how anyone sees him playing the game.”
It’ll take lots of work, but righting the ship is possible for Fields. After all, anything can happen in football.
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