As the losses mount for the Chicago Bears, the negativity rises. Quarterback Justin Fields, who was thought of as being the franchise quarterback the team has desperately been missing for a century, has become a lightning rod of controversy. After 2+ seasons, the fans are split as to whether or not he is that guy.
Fields has had moments of greatness but they have been few and far between. He'll look good for a game or a little stretch but then struggle in others. There were whispers at the end of last year and the offseason about the Bears possibly parting ways with him. As this season progresses, those whispers are now full-out screams.
A radio host called out the Chicago Bears for what he felt was a smear campaign against Justin Fields
Now, longtime Chicago sports radio host Dan Bernstein said on the air at 670 The Score what many Fields supporters have thought silently -- that the Chicago Bears are waging a smear campaign about Fields.
The rant was caused in part by NBC's Sunday Night Football coverage of the Chicago Bears/Los Angeles Chargers game, in which the Bears lost 30-13. There were many people who complained about what color commentator Chris Collinsworth said about Fields. He gave off the feeling that Fields was benched rather than injured. Then he made a statement about Fields and his replacement, Tyson Bagent.
""These couple of games, however long Bagent stays the starting quarterback, they’re gonna have Justin Fields study this guy.""
Yes, the starting quarterback who has immensely more talent than his backup needs to sit and learn from that backup. That riled up Bernstein and he went off on general manager Ryan Poles, team president Kevin Warren, and the coaching staff, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and head coach Matt Eberflus in particular.
""They just ignore the fact that he’s hurt. And the moment that they get their chance, the moment (the Bears) get to national TV, then they start that little back-stabbing whisper campaign. It sucks. It sucks. If you don’t want to coach him, get out. Kevin Warren, Ryan Poles, whatever it is, don’t make this mistake again. Whoever the next guy is … I feel terrible for what happened to Justin Fields in this. This is dirty. It’s ugly. It’s ugly. It’s ugly. The overtones are ugly. The ass-covering is ugly. And that’s why a lot of it pissed me off.""
That was certainly an epic rant. He did not mince words and said exactly what he felt. It was also something that many fans feel is true. This was some of the reactions.
People should slow down on Bagent's ceiling
Bagent came in and had a decent game last week. He wasn't spectacular, throwing for 162 yards and a touchdown. He had the running game and the defense backing him up. We saw in his second start, however, that he does not have the ability to come from behind. In order to do that, he has to throw downfield deep to pick up chunks of yards quickly. He has not shown that he is capable of doing that.
In Sunday's game, the Chargers practically dared Bagent to beat them deep. They covered all the short and intermediate areas. They were right on top of the receivers so when they went for the pass they were either stopped right away or got the ball knocked away with the hit.
In last week's game, Bagent attempted just one pass 10 yards or more. It was incomplete. Against the Chargers, he had to throw more deep passed. He was 4/10 for 82 yards, no touchdowns, 2 interceptions. He had only 3 first downs and had a 30.0 passer rating. Half of of his 82 yards downfield came on the very first play from scrimmage to Darnell Mooney. Additionally, there were a number of passes that should have been intercepted but were dropped by Chargers defenders.
We won't know exactly what the Bears' plans for Fields will be until after the season. Fields is a popular player despite having his detractors. If the Chicago Bears are waging that smear campaign in order to make it more palatable to part ways with him then shame on them. Poles has been pretty open about the rebuild.
Everyone knows that Fields is not his guy. He stated that he would stand by Fields. However, he dismantled the offense last year. It is understandable to overhaul the roster. If you have a developing quarterback, though, shouldn't you at least give him one weapon or help build the offensive line? How do you completely tear down an offense, keep the young, developing quarterback and expect him to thrive? If he wants to go in a different path that is fine. Just be clear about it.
As for the coaches, we see how Getsy is trying to change Fields. His system is predicated on having a pocket passer. Fields is not that, but Bagent is. Bagent is a better fit for what Getsy wants to do. Getsy fell in love with Bagent when he coached him at the Senior Bowl. That is what was the catalyst for the Bears signing him as an undrafted rookie free agent.
As for Eberflus, he is acting as if there is no problem between Fields and Getsy. That means either A) he agrees with Getsy, or B) he really does not see a problem with what is happening. Either one of those scenarios is not a good look for him. Let's hope this is finished soon and Fields gets back on the field to either help the Bears or audition to play somewhere else.