Since the aftermath of the 2021 NFL Draft, Chicago Bears fans have been dying to see their rookie quarterback get meaningful reps in practice.
All spring and summer long, and throughout training camp, Fields was a clear backup — and that’s fine. However, what’s not fine is the amount of reps he has gotten with the first team.
If Fields was going to be ready at a moment’s notice, and if the team truly wanted to develop him, then head coach Matt Nagy should at least allow him to play a bit with the ones. It seems fairly reasonable. As training camp dragged on, Nagy gave fans hope at one point, stating that Fields would begin to see more time with the first team in drills. It didn’t come until camp was nearly over, though.
Just recently, a documentary on Fields’ rise from high school until now was released by Overtime. During this documentary, one particular quote stood out above the rest, and it points to just how wrong Nagy has been handling his rookie up to this point.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy has failed to understand just how valuable first team reps are to Justin Fields.
"“The more reps I get, the more confident I get… it’s that simple, just, the more time I’m throwing routes to a certain receiver, the more comfortable I get.”"
It’s one thing to name Andy Dalton your starting quarterback. It’s another thing to completely neglect your first-round rookie, when it comes to valuable reps, during the majority of the offseason.
Nagy didn’t give Fields much time with the ones, and it showed when he took over for Dalton in Week 2 versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Fields made some great throws, but a couple of them were dropped. He was also called for a false start twice in a drive due to not getting his cadence down between he and center Sam Mustipher.
This full week of practice that Fields is getting with the ones is invaluable. When he suits up for his first NFL start against the Cleveland Browns, he’ll be close to a place he once called his home in college. There will be plenty of folks there who know and love him — and it’ll be his time to shine.
It took an injury to Dalton for him to get his shot, but if you watch the documentary, you’ll wonder just how in the world Fields would ever give his starting job back. This kid is truly built different, and the 2-part documentary is worth your time.
Back to Fields’ words for a minute. He probably spoke those words a very long time ago, far before he was in a Bears uniform or practicing under coach Matt Nagy. But, they ring true today. Had Fields received the proper first team snaps throughout the offseason, he probably could have beaten Dalton out for the job.
That brings up an even deeper issue, though, as someone with some power in the Bears’ organization didn’t want Fields to beat Dalton out for the job. Well, we’ve come to the point of no return. It’s Fields’ time, regardless of how Ryan Pace or even Nagy feel about it. Dalton is out. Fields is in. Let’s hope this is the beginning of something special.