ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith appeared on the Monday, September 18, edition of “First Take” and suggested that Fields doesn’t want to be in Chicago before blaming the organization for the QB’s struggles through two games.
“I know it’s real popular to look at Justin Fields. I’m gonna tell you what I see in Justin Fields,” Smith said. “I see somebody that’s not being developed. I see somebody that’s not growing. And more importantly, I see apathy kicking in, if not despondency. He knows what kind of situation he’s in. He doesn’t want to be there, and I don’t blame him one bit.”
“That’s how I feel. I don’t know, I haven’t heard that, but I’m surmising that he does not want to be there,” Smith continued.
Smith went on to criticize the Bears’ front office, coaching staff and wide receivers during his monologue on the situation in Chicago:
It is a bad, bad situation from the top on down. He has no help whatsoever. I know they got D.J. Moore in the offseason, he’s supposed to be a primary weapon. [Chase] Claypool has been a major disappointment … but Claypool, with all due respect … we see why the Steelers got rid of you. So it’s not looking good, you better turn it around.
I can’t look at Justin Fields, with that talent, and say that’s him. That’s not him. If this brother was in another organization he would not look like this. This is an indictment against the Chicago Bears organization.
Bears QB Justin Fields Off to Rough Start in 3rd NFL Season
Little has gone right for Fields during an 0-2 start to what was hoped to be as a potential breakout/MVP campaign for the third-year quarterback.
Fields has completed 40-of-66 passes for a 60.4% completion rate, which is up just 0.2% from his mark across 15 games played in 2022. He has thrown for 2 touchdowns compared to 3 interceptions and is currently posting a career-low QBR of 23.0.
With two games remaining league-wide in Week 2, Pro Football Focus ranked Fields as the 28th-best quarterback out of 33 who qualify at the position. The Bears have scored 37 total points, an average of 18.5 points per contest, with an average margin of defeat of a staggering 14 points against moderate competition in the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Fields produced one of the all-time rushing seasons from the QB position in 2022 with 1,143 yards and 8 touchdowns on 160 attempts, leading the NFL with an average of 7.1 yards per carry. He has rushed the ball 13 times for 62 yards and one touchdown through two games this season, producing an average of 4.8 yards per rushing attempt.
Justin Fields’ Struggles Result in Calls for Bears to Fire OC Luke Getsy
General manager Ryan Poles is responsible for the debacle that has been the Claypool trade, which cost Chicago the first pick in the second round (No. 32 overall) of the 2023 NFL draft. However, it is offensive coordinator Luke Getsy who is catching the brunt of the blame for Fields’ issues this season.
Fans flooded social media with a deluge of criticism for Getsy in the wake of the Bears’ loss to the Bucs on Sunday, September 17, including several calls for his firing. Media members have also levied harsh criticism against Getsy, including ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky on Monday.
Orlovsky put the blame for Fields’ fourth-quarter interception, which led to a touchdown for the Bucs and sealed Tampa Bay’s 27-17 victory, squarely on Getsy’s shoulders due to poor play calling.
“Very next play, literally the very next play, we’re going to run the same exact thing? To the same exact side? I don’t know if I’ve seen that done where they run the same exact screen — traditional screen, like back-insert screen — to the same side,” Orlovsky said. “I mean, Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David have seen 10,000 snaps together. Of course they’re going to sniff stuff like this out. It’s the same play! It’s the same back-insert screen to the same side! That’s not on the quarterback, man.”
Getsy and Fields will get another chance to straighten the offense out next Sunday, though in perhaps the toughest scenario imaginable. The Bears hit the road for a matchup against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on September 24 and opened the week as 13-point underdogs, per DraftKings Sportsbook.