As a known Justin Fields fan, I bought into the hype this offseason. Given his immense physical traits and based on the top-five grade I gave coming out of Ohio State, the hope for a third-year leap was at an all-time high. Unfortunately, for Bears fans, it might never come to fruition.
Time To Pull The Plug On Justin Fields?
With the Buckeyes, Fields was as dominant as any signal-caller in the country. He showed NFL-caliber arm strength and was regularly the best athlete on any field he stepped foot. Still, to see Fields as a franchise quarterback on Sundays, it required NFL Draft scouts to project that the youngster could develop as a processor.
Sadly, in two games vs. the Packers and Buccaneers, Fields looks exactly the same as he did in Year 1. Several plays that should have resulted in big gains through the air instead ended with Fields needlessly standing like a statue in a clean pocket and outright missing his receiver’s break-open.
The Bears’ front office fully committed to building around its 24-year-old leader, even trading out of the No. 1 overall pick, gathering assets to stack the roster rather than starting over with Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, or Anthony Richardson. Many around the league applauded this decision — myself included.
The addition of D.J. Moore was thought to be a boost to Fields’ development, similar to Stefon Diggs and A.J. Brown with Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts, respectively. While it is still early, the idea of a similar jump happening for Fields is becoming less and less likely each passing week.
Even worse, Fields has struggled to take care of the football throughout his NFL career, and it has seemingly gotten worse in 2023. One or two of these issues can easily be overcome, but seeing Fields still be as raw as he is in all areas is concerning — to say the least.
The Bears Have Had A Whirlwind Week
Earlier this week, things got even more uncertain within the organization. The young quarterback was asked why he has been so hesitant in 2023, to which he responded, “Coaching”. However, no matter how misleading the posts on X (formerly Twitter) were, the full quote shows exactly what Fields meant when making such a claim to the media.
“I’m not blaming anything on the coaches. I’m never gonna blame anything on the coaches. Never gonna blame anything on my teammates,” Fields said with passion. “Whatever happens in the game, I’ll take the blame. Put it on me. I need to play better, that’s it, point blank.
“That’s what I should have said in the first place. I was trying to give y’all more details because, you know, I appreciate y’all for doing what y’all do. I’m gonna do that in the future. But I ask you guys to just put the whole quote up. Don’t cut it up into words and pieces to make it seem like I’m saying something that I’m not.”
To hammer home his point, Fields made it a priority to seek out Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy at practice following the comments. The two made eye contact with a camera, shared a big hug, and seemingly buried any hatchet that existed — if there was ever one in the first place.
Can Fields Rebound? Or Is The Experiment Coming To An End?
Now, the OSU alum heads to Kansas City this weekend to take on the reigning Super Bowl Champions. Perhaps this is the star turn we have all been waiting for, but this is just as likely to be the final nail in the coffin for Justin Fields.
I’ve given out a longer leash than most, but my faith is fading in the franchise and the player. Fields suffered from organizational malpractice as a rookie. So bad that it might have been irreparable damage for a young, impressionable signal-caller. He can’t blame the front office anymore, though, because they aren’t the ones missing reads and holding the football too long.
The silver lining? The Bears currently own their own first-round pick and the Panthers’ first-round pick in 2024. In a quarterback-rich class, the Justin Fields experiment will come to a screeching halt if Chicago finds itself in a position to take Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.