Bears Say Justin Fields’ Knowledge ‘On a Different Level’

Getsy Fields Different Level2

Getty The Bears believe Justin Fields' knowledge of the offense is "on a different level" in 2023.

The Chicago Bears are expecting big things from starting quarterback Justin Fields during his third season in the NFL in 2023, and he has already started showing his coaches that his knowledge and understanding of Luke Getsy’s offense are on a “different level” heading into his second year of the system.

On Wednesday, June 7, Getsy spoke with reporters following the Bears’ final open-to-media OTA practice and lauded Fields for the focus and hard-working approach he has taken to improving as Chicago’s starting quarterback since the end of the 2022 season. He also noted that the types of conversations the Bears are having with Fields about the offense and his potential for growth have reached new heights since last year ended.

“Justin is someone that is super focused, works his tail off in every aspect of it — the physical part of it, the on-field part of it, the training part of it. And then in the meeting room, he is focused,” The Bears’ second-year offensive coordinator said Wednesday. “The types of conversations we’re having now in that room are really a different level than they were last year as far as where he can go with his growth and everything.”

Fields will finally have the opportunity to operate in the same offensive system for consecutive seasons in 2023, having been forced to learn a new playbook and scheme in each of his first two seasons in the league. The expectation is that will help him take a meaningful step forward in his development, as will the numerous upgrades the Bears have made in his supporting cast — including their acquisition of wideout D.J. Moore.

While the Bears will have next week’s mandatory minicamp and training camp later this summer to better assess the physical improvements Fields has made in the offseason, it is encouraging that Getsy is already noticing mental improvements in his quarterback that should set him up to take a significant step forward as an NFL passer in 2023.

Bears Want to Avoid Making Justin Fields ‘Robotic’

Getsy Fields Different Level2

GettyBears quarterback Justin Fields finished with 1,143 rushing yards during the 2022 season.

Fields burst onto the scene in 2022 with his dynamic rushing ability, finishing the year with the second-most quarterback rushing yards (1,143) in NFL history behind Lamar Jackson’s MVP season in 2019. Since then, though, the 2021 first-round pick has been adamant about wanting to make significant strides as a passer, whether it is improving his short-to-mid-range accuracy or getting the ball out faster when making throws.

Still, Getsy recognizes he has a difficult line to tow with developing Fields. He wants to ensure he helps him make improvements in his decision-making and rhythm in the pocket so that they can become a more effective passing offense, but he also does not want to force Fields to be “robotic” and play strictly within the confines of the system.

“There’s plenty of times on film where he shouldn’t [run with the ball], and even though it worked out for us, in the long run, there’s a better decision, there’s a better way,” Getsy explained. “And then there’s times where I can sit there and coach and say, ‘You should do this,’ but then his instincts tell him to do something and we have to trust that, too, so I will by no means make that guy robotic. I don’t believe in doing that for any player, but there’s a way to refine it all and improve our decision-making and trusting our timing and rhythm, and we’ll take it from there.”

Will Fields Be 1st Bears QB to Eclipse 4,000 Yards?

The Bears have had infamously bad luck with quarterbacks over their franchise’s long history, never producing a single 4,000-yard passer despite having a few who fell less than 200 yards short — Erik Kramer (3,838) in 1995 and Jay Culter (3,812) in 2014. Could Fields finally break the trend and become the first 4K passer in team history?

Potentially down the line, but don’t count on it happening right away in 2023.

No doubt, Fields is going to have significantly more firepower at his disposal heading into his third season with the Bears. Since the start of the 2022 season, the Bears have added Moore, Chase Claypool and fourth-round rookie Tyler Scott to his receiving room and, for safe measure, signed another quality pass-catching tight end (Robert Tonyan Jr.) in free agency to pair with starter Cole Kmet. He also has two new pass protectors with veteran guard Nate Davis and first-round right tackle Darnell Wright.

The offense won’t just click into place because the talent is better, though. Even if Fields takes a noticeable step forward in 2023, he may not cross the 4,000-yard threshold with how much the Bears like to run the ball. They lost David Montgomery from last year’s NFL-leading rushing offense, but they added D’Onta Foreman and Roschon Johnson alongside Khalil Herbert to potentially make the unit even better for 2023.

As a safe estimate, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated predicted Fields to finish 2023 somewhere in the range of Jalen Hurt’s first two seasons in Philadelphia.

“I’ll go with 63% completions, 3,200 yards, 24 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and 800 yards rushing — and I do that to put Fields in between campaigns Jalen Hurts posted in 2021 and ’22,” Breer wrote. “I believe Fields was a better passer coming out than Hurts, but he doesn’t have the circumstances that Hurt got over the last couple years.”

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