The new regime for the Chicago Bears, led by general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus, have publicly stated on multiple occasions the team believes in its second-year starting quarterback, Justin Fields.
Fields, who was drafted by erstwhile general manager Ryan Pace, had an uneven rookie season, finishing with a completion percentage of 58.9 while throwing for 1,870 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Bears traded up from No. 20 to No. 11 overall to draft the 23-year-old quarterback in 2021, also giving up their 2022 first-rounder to do it. Considering what the team gave up to get him, coupled with his importance to the franchise, all eyes will be on Fields in Year 2.
So far, Eberflus and Poles have said nothing but good things about the young QB. “He’s going to have a clear understanding of what the offense is and he’s really doing a good job right now of grasping that and helping to teach it to the other players,” Eberflus said about Fields on Cris Collinsworth’s podcast in April.
“We’re all in on Justin,” Poles said on ESPN 1000’s Kap & J Hood in May. “I believe in Justin. Our staff believes in Justin. And like I’ve said from the beginning, we’re going to set this up for him to succeed.”
However, talk show host Colin Cowherd said he has been hearing different things from those he knows around the league.
ALL the latest Bears news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Bears newsletter here!
Cowherd: Bears Aren’t ‘Sold’ on Fields
On his July 7 podcast, Cowherd and longtime NFL analyst Mike Silver discussed the league’s second-year quarterbacks, and when Fields’ name came up, Cowherd said he’d heard some things about the way the team feels about Fields that contradict what the new regime has been saying publicly.
“The current GM of the Bears did not draft Justin Fields,” Cowherd said. “The current coach of the Bears had no reported fondness of Justin Fields. I have been told they aren’t necessarily sold on Justin Fields. They don’t know.”
To be fair, no one really knows what the Bears have in Fields yet. It’s too early to make any definitive statements about him as a player, and he’s working with his second offensive coordinator in as many years, so he hasn’t had an ideal start to his young career.
But based on everything Poles and company have said about Fields this offseason, the team is looking forward to seeing how he performs in new OC Luke Getsy’s QB-friendly system.
Follow the Heavy on Bears Facebook page, where you can weigh in on all the latest Bears-related breaking news, rumors, content and more!
Poles Was Slightly Handcuffed in 2022
The former regime left Poles with just five selections in the 2021 draft (none in Round 1), which he ultimately turned into 11 after trading down multiple times, also adding a second-rounder after trading away Khalil Mack.
He also inherited a less than ideal salary cap situation, which won’t be the case in 2023, when the Bears will have over $97 million in cap space. Look for the team to spend big in free agency then. In the meantime, the first-year GM said he’s excited to see what his young team — and his young QB — can do in 2022.
“Our coaches are hard at work, and so is Justin,” Poles said during his Kap & J Hood appearance. “Justin is grinding right now. He’s putting in the time. The leadership is coming out of him, so I’m excited. I’m excited about him and what he’s going to become here.”