When the Chicago Bears moved up in the 2021 draft to select Justin Fields, the hope was that they had finally solved their decade-long quarterback problem. From a host of no-name quarterbacks to Jay Cutler and the complete miss of drafting Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears seemed to have absolutely no luck when it came to the most important position in football.
Enter Justin Fields, the dual-threat quarterback whose talent was unquestionable. However, after an inconsistent first two seasons, the new year was supposed to answer all the questions about his ability to be an elite passer. The Bears revamped their offensive line and brought in standout receiver D.J. Moore.
Two weeks into the NFL season, the Bears are winless and hopeless. Fields’ play has wavered from inconsistent to just plain bad and the whispers questioning his ability to be the franchise quarterback have turned into screams. enough
Can Justin Fields Still Be the Chicago Bears Franchise Quarterback?
A Disastrous Start to the Season
The Chicago Bears came into the season with hopes of contending for a playoff spot, or at the very least, showing a dramatic improvement from a team that had the worst record in the NFL in 2022. With two straight losses to begin the year, and a trip to Kansas City to play the Chiefs on deck for Week 3, the hope that started the year has faded.
Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Tampa Buccaneers wasn’t without some bright spots, including an opening drive that Bears fans were waiting for since the preseason. Fields looked like a legitimate passer, connecting twice with Moore and driving the field to score a touchdown. As the game went on, that opening drive would become the team’s only true highlight.
Justin Fields was able to connect with Chase Claypool on his first touchdown as a Bear, throwing a beautiful pass in between two Buccaneer defenders. While it was a must to get Moore and Claypool more involved in the offense, there was very little rhythm to the play of the offense – instead, it was more like a few isolated plays that looked good.
An Incomplete State Line
Fields finished the game 16/29 for 211 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. One of those picks came at the end of the game as the team was attempting to make a comeback, locked inside their 5-yard line. On yet another screen pass called by offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, Fields was picked off by Shaquil Barrett for a four-yard interception return touchdown, sealing the game. The turnover left Bears fans wondering what was lazy, the play call or the pass attempt.
Whenever people called Justin Fields’ passing into question, there was always the fact that his play-making ability, particularly with his feet, could help break a game open. The Week 2 loss had Fields rush only 4 times for 3 yards, a mixture of an offensive line that was again under constant attack and seemingly a hesitation to do so on Fields’ part.
This sums up Fields’ day in Tampa, there was a hesitation to do anything. While in the pocket Fields either stared down the same receiver to the point he got sacked, dumped it to a running back too quickly, or couldn’t get rid of the ball fast enough. Two weeks into the season and nothing has gone right for the franchise quarterback; now the question is, is Fields the man to lead the franchise into the future?
Justin Fields: A Cloudy Future
The 2023 NFL season has only just begun, but it seems as though Fields and Bears head coach Matt Eberflus are already on the hot seat. Above everything else, Bears fans and ownership wanted to see a consistent improvement in the passing game and the team as a whole. So far, both are utter failures.
The Bears’ 0-2 start, combined with the Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick has fans thinking about what happens if the team completely bottoms out. Another disastrous season would surely be the end of Eberflus in Chicago, but what about Fields? Would the temptation of Caleb Williams, a potentially generational quarterback lead the Bears to move on from Fields?
The team will surely fall to 0-3 after next week’s game against the Chiefs and the likelihood of challenging for a playoff spot would fall in even more. Does a Justin Fields in-season trade make sense if the poor play continues?
Think about a team like the Atlanta Falcons. Fields is a Georgia native, and would seemingly be the perfect quarterback for Arthur Smith’s run-heavy offensive scheme. Incumbent quarterback Desmond Ridder might be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL and one would think Smith would believe he could get the best out of Fields.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way for Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears, but if things don’t change quickly, the winds of the windy city will bring in a whole host of changes.
Main Photo: Kim Klement Neitzel – USA Today Sports