Analyst Destroys ‘Weird Opinion’ About Bears QB Justin Fields

Bears QB Justin Fields

Getty Quarterback Justin Fields

Justin Fields has made his goals known: He wants to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL for a very long time. The rookie signal-caller for the Chicago Bears saw his draft position fall slightly, dropping to No. 11 after once being a projected top-three pick. Many have wondered whether unfounded criticism about his work ethic and attitude, as well as a leak revealing he has epilepsy, contributed at least in part to his sliding out of the top 10.

Another criticism — that Fields isn’t a strong pocket passer and thus, should not be asked to operate from the pocket — has recently been called a “weird opinion” by one well-respected NFL analyst, who promptly dissected and dispelled the notion by simply looking at the numbers.

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Fields Was Beyond Impressive From the Pocket in 2020

USA Today’s Doug Farrar, a longtime NFL analyst and author, recently wrote about the numbers Fields put up while passing from the pocket at Ohio State last season, and it’s difficult to argue against his findings:

Per the Sports Info Solutions database, here are Fields’ statistics last season when throwing from the pocket with his feet planted — i.e., throwing from the pocket and not about to break out of the pocket: 155 attempts and 114 completions for 1,674 yards, 1,115 air yards, 17 touchdowns, and three interceptions. And when Fields was throwing from the pocket with his feet planted and under pressure? Well, I don’t know — is 19 of 29 for 323 yards, 254 air yards, four-touchdown, and no interceptions good? Perhaps I don’t understand what pocket awareness is.

The idea Fields isn’t a capable pocket passer continues to be perpetuated by some, including ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky and one NFL evaluator, who said this about Fields to Mike Sando of The Athletic:

“Fields is tough and has grit, and I think he will play through things and come out the other side, but I don’t see the pocket awareness or instincts as consistently. When you don’t react as naturally, your talent has a harder time taking over. I do think he is eventually a starter, but what level of starter, we will find out. Chicago really didn’t have much choice, right?”

The Bears may have had little choice, but trading up to nab Fields at No. 11 overall has reinvigorated a team and a fan base that had all but lost hope, and the young quarterback’s numbers from the pocket tell a pretty specific story: Fields has a heck of an arm, and he can throw from the pocket quite well, while also having an incredible feel for pressure.

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Fields is Looking to Silence the Critics & Doubters

Fields has heard the criticism, but he isn’t letting it bother him. “That stuff doesn’t really bother me, because I know myself. I know how I learn and how I am, so I tend to not really listen,” the rookie said on the Parkins & Spiegel Show several days after he was drafted.

The 22-year-old quarterback has big goals entering the league, and the Bears certainly hope he achieves them, but he’s also not looking too far ahead. “Winning a Super Bowl. Winning an MVP. [Being] a Hall of Famer,” he told Parkins. “I’m really just focused on the short-term goals right now, and really trying to take it day by day, just become better and better, little by little, day by day.”

Time will tell how soon he sees the field, but when he does, Fields’ work in the pocket may prove to be more of a strength than a weakness.

READ NEXT: Bears Rookie Reveals He Trained With Justin Fields Before NFL Draft

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