Are the Chicago Bears truly sold on Justin Fields?

Chicago Bears (Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bears (Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports) /

Often times, the simplest pleasures in life as a Chicago Bears fan come from listening to what the entire fanbase and players themselves wants to hear. It’s the offseason after all. With an entirely new regime in place, how can it not appear as if everything is all “fine and dandy” when it comes to discussing Justin Fields in particular.

The Chicago Bears organization has been saying all the right things during media availability and press conferences, regarding their affinity towards quarterback Justin Fields. Their admiration for him is unwavering, and rightfully so, given he’s expected to improve leaps and bounds with a new coaching staff in place, helping guide his development.

Actions typically speak louder than words though, and to date, the new regime hasn’t done their part in surrounding their young quarterback with a ton of help on offense. If anything, they’ve only made their choice of words regarding their public support of Fields feel even more muddied to some onlookers.

New Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Poles has made it a point to both the fans and media that the organization has ultimate faith in second-year quarterback Justin Fields. In Friday morning media interviews with ESPN 1000, Poles said of his new QB:

Are the Chicago Bears really setting Justin Fields up for success?

There is no doubt head coach, Matt Eberflus, his coaching staff, and the front office firmly believes in Justin Field’s talent, otherwise they wouldn’t have gladly signed up to take over the mantle this offseason from Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy’s dismissals. Anyone who has watched Fields take snaps with the Bears last season or even during his time in college at Ohio State knows that he is a special talent at the position. Very few quarterbacks in today’s NFL possess his combination of throwing and running ability.

It’s one thing to have all the ability in the world though, but in order to be a successful franchise quarterback, you need to also master the art of playing the position. Going through progressions quickly, knowing when to get rid of the ball, being able to accurately read defensive coverages both pre-and post snap. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, it often takes years for young quarterbacks to get accustomed to the mental aspect of playing the position, and even that isn’t enough to guarantee long-term success.

Ultimately, the quickest way a young promising quarterback like Fields becomes the franchise quarterback that Bears fans have been salivating for is by surrounding him with offensive talent.

To be fair, the new regime didn’t have a first round pick in this years draft, where they could have used it to possibly select a dynamic playmaker to help make life a bit easier for Fields. But the Bears did have two second-round picks at their disposal, and used them both to draft defensive players instead. Again, isn’t the number one priority supposed to be helping speed up Fields’ development as a passer?

Losing a dynamic player in WR Allen Robinson this offseason only hurts Fields. They replaced his production with former Kansas City Chiefs WR Byron Pringle, who is more of a rotational player at best and a 3rd round WR Velus Jones Jr., who has plenty of speed and talent, but might have a steep learning curve before he can be relied upon to contribute regularly.

Furthermore, the front office didn’t even address their lingering offensive line woes until the 5th round of the draft, when plenty of talented linemen were available in the earlier rounds. The front office played it very conservatively this offseason, ultimately decided to trade away/release prominent players like Khalil Mack, Eddie Goldman, Tarik Cohen, Danny Trevathan, while signing largely backup players to take up little to no cap space in the immediate future.

The Bears will have so much money to spend next offseason, all of which can go towards helping Fields out, but what if the team struggles mightily this upcoming season? It’s very possible, given the lack of supporting cast around Fields. You can make a strong argument that last season’s team was better on both sides of the ball than the unit currently constructed.

If Fields doesn’t make a big jump in Year 2, who will get the blame? Most likely, it’ll fall on Fields, especially if the same issues that plagued him in his rookie season: holding on to the ball too long, while taking unnecessary sacks and making poor decisions all continue to manifest.

All it takes is another poor season to mess with a young quarterback’s confidence. If the Bears can’t protect Fields, and if he has even fewer reliable targets to throw to, how is Fields going to overcome all that? Very few quarterbacks can overcome a bad supporting cast to salvage a season.

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This new regime didn’t draft Fields. They love his talent, and want him to succeed, but their future isn’t necessarily tied to him if things go south in a hurry.

Armed with potentially a very high first-round pick in 2023, it wouldn’t be surprising if the front office took a flyer on a new highly-coveted quarterback if the Bears and Fields struggle mightily this upcoming season.