Phase 1: How does 2023 unfold?
The first part is simple. As soon as Justin Fields is healthy, put JF1 back under center and let him finish out the season as QB1 (assuming he’s healthy enough to start the rest of the season).
Before you say it, don’t you dare suggest that Tyson Bagent becomes the regular starter.
Bagent is a D-II quarterback whose only experience is some meaningless preseason football against third-string defenses, and whose last throw on Sunday looked like he had a blindfolded hammer throw.
And no, Fields has not played nearly bad enough to justify benching him. On the contrary, he has shown flashes of legitimate talent. He’s tied for fifth in passing TDs with Patrick Mahomes and is 12th overall in QB rating.
Justin Fields has shown flashes of talent throughout the 2023 season
While he needs to improve on things like holding on to the ball for too long and reading the secondary downfield, those problems won’t go away with him sitting on the bench.
Ideally, Fields can stay healthy for the rest of the season and show some real progress. Of course, that’s also dependent on Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy calling plays that allow Fields to showcase his abilities and the offensive line providing adequate protection so he doesn’t get destroyed every snap.
Now let’s look at Phase 2.