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Should the Bears Give Justin Fields the Keys Week One?
The Chicago Bears traded up to draft arguably the best quarterback to ever play at Ohio State University. Trading up in the draft for a quarterback was a move that Bears fans may not have expected; yet were undoubtedly rooting for all along. Head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace knew they needed to find their future quarterback after recognizing they missed on former 2017 second overall pick, Mitchell Trubisky
There’s no shame in swinging and missing, as long as you eventually hit.
Throughout the draft process, Justin Fields was scrutinized more than any other player in this class. It was remarkable the number of people putting out stories on Fields’ inability to read coverages, not reading through progressions fast enough, unable to get past his second read, minor health concerns, and on and on and on.
It was exhausting to read and listen to, and I for one am rooting for Fields that much more because of it.
How does Fields fit into the Bears Organization and in Matt Nagys Offense?
Fields possesses every ounce of leadership that you could want in your franchise quarterback. He conducts himself with class and treats the media graciously. His respect for his teammates has shown and those around him respect his work ethic and his natural drive. On and off the football field, Justin Fields will give the city of Chicago a person to cheer for and fall in love with.
As for Matt Nagy and the offensive scheme, my take may be a bit bold, yet I’ll still throw it out there for everyone to criticize on twitter.
I do not care about Matt Nagys offense, scheme, or playbook. If he’s learned anything from Andy Reid, then he should know that he needs to learn the Justin Fields offense just as much as Fields has to learn the Matt Nagy offense.
Build an offense that elevates what Fields does so well. Justin Fields is dangerous off play action, which requires a consistent commitment to the running game. The Bears drafted Teven Jenkins to help beef up their offensive line and have a decent rotation of running backs to help build out that aspect of the offense.
Fields has immaculate accuracy outside the hashes and does an excellent job with anticipation throwing out of play action. He understands defensive tendencies and has the arm talent and ball placement to expose defenders at the next level. If you watched just one Ohio State game over the last two years, you most likely observed Fields launch a deep dime of a pass to his receiver in stride, while out of play action.
Matt Nagy’s offense never found it’s true identity with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. On more than one occasion it seemed as if Nagy was hesitant to call certain plays in crucial situations because of what he knew his quarterback could and could not do. Trubisky never had a feel for ball placement or the ability to control the velocity of his throws past 15 yards.
Justin Fields has some of the intangible traits that just can’t be taught. He has that instinctive ability to put a little more on a throw or take a little off. It’s a trait that not many people talk about, yet an important one for a quarterback to understand, and execute. Velocity on a deep ball is fundamental and Fields is an outstanding deep ball thrower; one of the nicest features to his game.
Throwing to an open receiver and throwing your receiver open are two vastly different things. Trubisky could throw to an open receiver but struggled with ball placement and anticipation throwing guys open.
The overall conclusion here is that Justin Fields is a more talented, more advanced, more pro-ready prospect than Mitchell Trubisky was as a rookie. Fields has far less limitations and a lot more superior traits to develop and employ in an offense, even as a rookie. Matt Nagy needs to tailor the offensive scheme to what Fields does best and adjust appropriately.
The pressure shouldn’t be on Justin Fields in Chicago, not at all. Fields was not a first overall draft selection; he wasn’t even top-ten. Fields was not the first quarterback selected in the draft; he was the fourth. I can make an argument that the fifth quarterback drafted after Fields, Mac Jones (New England), has more pressure on him than Fields does in Chicago.
The Pressure is on Matt Nagy.
The Bears head coach has to prove that he absorbed some knowledge and experience from working under Andy Reid in Kansas City. Matt Nagy must demonstrate that he can develop a franchise quarterback while coaching winning football. Nagy has everything he could ask for in Justin Fields.
So, let the kid play in year one.
Offer your rookie quarterback some confidence with play action and familiarity within the scheme. Help him develop chemistry with his receivers, particularly Allen Robinson.
Let Fields throw that beautiful deep ball and allow him the opportunity to learn and adjust as the season progresses. We all thought Justin Herbert would need a year to sit and learn, but then he won offensive rookie of the year.
The narrative around drafting a quarterback and having him sit for a year or two is off-base and often misconstrued. Patrick Mahomes was drafted into a situation where the team had a starting caliber quarterback that had just taken his team to the playoffs in Alex Smith. Aaron Rodgers was drafted into a situation with a hall of fame quarterback on the roster in Brett Farve.
Andy Dalton is not Alex Smith, and he’s most certainly not Brett Farve.
If Justin Fields fails, many would wonder how good Mitchell Trubisky could’ve been if he landed with a different team, or with a different coach.
Give Justin Fields the football and let him ball.
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