Lions HC Dan Campbell Sounds Off on Bears’ Trade of QB Justin Fields

Dan Campbell, Lions

Getty Head coach Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions.

The Chicago Bears‘ decision to trade three-year starting QB Justin Fields in favor of an unproven rookie evoked strong reactions around the NFL, including from rival Detroit Lions‘ head coach Dan Campbell.

Reporters asked Campbell on Tuesday, March 26 for his thoughts on Fields’ departure from Chicago to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who play in the AFC North Division.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s nice to have Fields out of that division,” Campbell said, per Jeremy Reisman of Pride of Detroit.

Campbell offered a greater depth of insight into his opinion on Fields during a December 2023 interview.

“He’s one of these rare, dangerous players,” Campbell said on December 8, per Bleacher Report. “And I’ll tell you what he’s done a really good job of from last year to this year is if it’s a pass and he starts to move, he’s still moving with eyes down the field much more than I felt like he had previously. And that’s extremely dangerous because even in Minnesota, he had two or three receivers wide open after he had kind of run, found a way through, broke contain and all of a sudden he gets an explosive pass off of it.”

Justin Fields Showed Promise, Not Enough for Bears to Keep Him

Justin Fields

GettyFormer Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields.

Fields’ explosiveness and creativity now resides in the Steelers’ QB room for the low cost of a conditional sixth-round pick, which will become a fourth-rounder if he takes 51% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps in 2024. To do that, Fields will need to out-duel Russell Wilson during training camp, or take over for the former Super Bowl champion because of poor play and/or injury during the season.

Fields certainly has a chance to bring the Bears’ the best possible return on the trade, as he displayed flashes of brilliance during his time in Chicago. He set the second all-time highest single-season rushing mark from the position in 2022, tallying 1,143 yards and 8 TDs on the ground across 15 games played. He also led all NFL players with 7.1 rushing yards per attempt that season, according to Pro Football Reference.

His performance under center in 2022 earned Fields a place in the top 10 of league MVP voting (he finished ninth overall) and set him up as a dark horse candidate to win the award heading into the 2023 campaign. However, that projection was based on the assumption that Fields would develop significantly as a passer, which didn’t happen — or at least not to the degree it needed to happen for his stock to remain at its peak.

Fields finished last season with career highs in passing attempts (370), completions (227), completion percentage (61.4%) and passing yards (2,562). He also threw a career low of 9 INTs across 13 games and tallied 16 passing TDs — one shy of his career-best in that category (17 TDs in 2022).

Bears Likely to Place Faith in Caleb Williams as Franchise QB

Caleb Williams Keenan Allen Video Pro Day Chicago Bears News

GettyQuarterback Caleb Williams, formerly of the USC Trojans.

Meanwhile, Chicago is hoping for an upgrade in its QB room via the first overall pick in the NFL draft. That hope will most likely rest with Caleb Williams, formerly of the USC Trojans.

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus recently attended Williams’ pro day in Southern California and met with the quarterback one-on-one in the days following. His comments on Williams were glowing.

“It was great,” Eberflus said, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN. “The biggest takeaway is that you can see the arm talent on the film and you can see it there in person. That was the biggest takeaway. What I loved to see was the interaction with the other players. You can see that, and we talked to every person that was on that team. … We talked to those guys at the dinner, and you can certainly see those players love him and respect him and what he’s brought to that program.”

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