The Chicago Bears are a week away from the start of training camp. Seeing the growth quarterback Justin Fields has had will be of the utmost importance. The team as well as the fans have been highly anticipating an all-around player. He’s shown flashes but now needs to show consistency.
At the start of the offseason, the whispers of the possibility of trading Fields grew louder. Quite a few people thought that parting ways with him could assist with the rebuild. Restarting the rookie contract clock would allow the Bears to have a quarterback grow along with the new players. For them, three more seasons still might not help the team know if they have a true franchise quarterback on their hands.
Fortunately for Fields, general manager Ryan Poles was not among those people. He spent the offseason building the offense around Fields. He added guard Nate Davis and rookie tackle Darnell Wright to help protect him.
Adding Davis forced a shift on the offensive line. Teven Jenkins, the incumbent right guard, moved to left guard. The former left guard, Cody Whitehair, moved to center. That forced the former center, Sam Mustipher, to depart.
Moreover, Lucas Patrick and Larry Borom, who have starting experience, are now backups. That makes Fields’ protection much stronger.
Additionally, Poles added a plethora of better targets for Fields. He pulled off a great trade, parting with the number one pick. In return, he received a bundle of draft picks and one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, D.J. Moore.
Moore is the elite number one receiver Fields needs so he can develop. He and Mooney make a darn good duo. Add Chase Claypool, who had the entire offseason to learn the offensive system. He struggled coming over from the Pittsburgh Steelers last season. Poles also added speedy Tyler Scott to the mix. He is a big play waiting to happen.
Poles was not done, however. Last season, tight end Cole Kmet was the only target for Fields. Yes, the two had good chemistry (Kmet had seven touchdown receptions after a season and a half without any). However, none of the other tight ends contributed nearly nothing in the passing game. Three backups combined for just 52 receiving yards.
Now FIelds has Robert Tonyan, a tight end who excels in the passing game. In 2020, he averaged 11.3 yards per reception and had 11 touchdown receptions. He can make big plays.
Poles also revamped the running back unit. He let David Montgomery walk via free agency. He then signed D’Onta Foreman, a back who runs hard and does a good job of wearing down a defense. He is also a good pass-blocker. He and Khalil Herbert make a good duo.
Additionally, Poles drafted Roshon Johnson. He looks to be the future starter. While he might start out as the RB3, he could still be an important asset in the offense. He has some quickness and elusiveness. Also, he is a good blocker. More importantly, he can catch passes from the backfield.
With the new additions, Fields takes ownership of the Chicago Bears offense
Poles gave Fields the tools to succeed. Now the Bears have a receiving corps with good hands, athleticism, and lots of speed. This is a big-play offense. Fields can go deep with the speedy receivers. The speedy receivers stretch the defense, giving the tight ends and running backs room underneath to make big plays.
In the red zone Fields has so many options. Any of the receivers can be effective targets. They have the speed to be used on jet sweeps. The running backs can get into the end zone. The tight ends provide Fields with big targets who can provide mismatches against smaller defenders.
If all else fails, Fields can take it in himself. He is a big, strong runner with great speed. We saw how great of a runner he was last season.
This is Fields’ offense now. He has ownership in it. Poles did his best to completely overhaul all aspects of the unit. Now it is FIelds’ turn to make it run like a well-oiled machine.
You have to love what Fields is saying. Being in the second year of Luke Getsy’s offense, he feels a lot more comfortable. Last season, he had to learn the system and how to get the receivers involved. This season, he already knows the system. He knows where everyone should be.
To help his teammates, Fields even set up a camp in Florida so they could all work with him before the start of training camp. He had his two backups, P.J. Walker and Nathan Peterman. Additionally, he had a few of the receivers, including Mooney and Claypool.
Having those two receivers was big. During OTAs and the veteran minicamp, neither receiver was able to attend. They were recovering from injuries. Having them work with Fields ahead of training camp allows them to hit the ground running once it does begin.
We see the same leadership in Fields that he displayed in college. Remember, when the Big Ten wanted to postpone the season in his final year at Ohio State in 2020, he almost singlehandedly changed the commissioner’s mind (who ironically was Kevin Warren, who now works with the Chicago Bears).
Now FIelds is showing that same leadership at the pro level. This is the kind of leadership the Chicago Bears sorely need. Poles must be grinning from ear to ear seeing and hearing FIelds. He bet on the quarterback to be the leader the team needs and Fields is showing it. Now it is on Fields to show his leadership on the field.