It hasn’t been an easy couple of weeks, let alone season for the Chicago Bears or rookie quarterback Justin Fields. The team is just 4-8. Were it not for their win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, they would be on a six-game losing streak. They suffered through one near the end of last season that many felt would spell the end for the current regime.
The difference between sentiments over the two versions of the Bears is quite literally Fields and the hope that he brings to a wayward franchise.
They’ll need that hope as Sunday’s opponent, the Green Bay Packers, take pleasure in tormenting the Bears. They have for the better part of the last 30 years. That’s including Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ message to the fanbase after their last encounter.
Chicago Bears Quarterback Justin Fields Alone Makes the Team Worth Watching
Betting the Fields
Wednesday provided the best update we’ve gotten with regards to Fields’ injured ribs. It’s an injury that has kept him from starting the last two contests. Appearing before reporters, the 11th-overall pick in last April’s NFL Draft declared himself healthy (enough). It was announced he would return as lead signal caller this weekend.
That little bit of information was the brightest bit of news Bears fans have gotten in some time.
They’ve dealt with poor (and perhaps predictable) performances from players and coaches, injuries, tough losses, and all of the other things that have typically summed up a regular season of Chicago Bears football.
This is different.
Though mathematically still alive, there is little hope of the Bears making the postseason. And even if they do, there is even less faith they can make any noise.
Still, Fields provides that glance into the future worth keeping your eyes glued to the screen. Even if it is just to keep track of his development. Will he show a better understanding of protecting himself and the ball by getting rid of it quicker or sliding as necessary going forward? Will he develop bad habits as a result of poor surroundings?
These are the things to look for from a team with very little else in the way of intrigue.
Along with David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert, Cole Kmet, and Darnell Mooney, Fields is trying to grow as a player while being taught by a coaching staff that has almost made much more accomplished passers regress under their tutelage.
We live for that kind of compelling drama as a society and, if there’s one thing these Bears aren’t short on, it’s drama.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 8, 2021
No Take Backs
Rodgers’ comments were telling, but mostly because they were true. In his career, he has a 21-5 record against them and it’s even better in games that he finished. What’s more, he really could have been speaking for the guy before him too as the all-time series record has shifted in the Packers favor ever since Brett Favre found his way to Wisconsin.
Asked about his comments from the last game and whether or not he regretted them, Rodgers stood firm, insisting there isn’t much about what he said that is up for debate.
On Sunday, when his 9-3 Packers play host to the Bears at Lambeau Field where Chicago hasn’t won since 2015, there will be a bit of a “car wreck” aspect to it. Just as the Arizona Cardinals got out to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
That lead was thanks in no small part to two quick interceptions to start the game from Andy Dalton, who threw four picks total on a flushable day in front of the home crowd.
A Packers defense that ranks fifth in points and seventh in yards and could get standout cornerback Jaire Alexander back has to be licking its chops to face this offense, regardless of who is under center. Remember, rookie or not, Fields has the highest percentage of bad throws in the NFL coming in.
That is 1.1 percent worse than Jacksonville Jaguars rookie and first-overall pick, Trevor Lawrence.
Fitting the two who have been compared their whole careers find themselves where they are, facing adversity under questionable regimes. It’s also fitting that Fields is coming along right when the Packers and Rodgers were talking about divorce before this season that they’ll revisit after.
With how things are going, that’s no guarantee.
Justin Fields Makes Bears Watchable
We won’t forget about Roquan Smith on defense. Jaylon Johnson could be considered someone to watch as their top corner. But he didn’t flash the playmaking ability (or cover skills) to make him more than a “wait-and-see” player. There just isn’t as much to write home about as the front office would have had you believe coming in.
Still, hearing Fields at the podium talk of not being familiar with constantly being the underdog but relishing it, or how this rib injury wasn’t as bad as the one he famously battled through in the National Championship at Ohio State, was great.
That is the kind of things fans can cling to as they watch yet another disappointing Bears season come to a close over the next five weeks. Other than keeping an eye on the job status of Matt Nagy, that is, despite history suggesting he’ll at least close out the campaign at the helm.
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