Justin Fields' future in Chicago seems unclear
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

Justin Fields' future in Chicago seems unclear


by - Senior Writer -

When it comes to the Chicago Bears and finding a franchise QB, they haven't had much success. Sure, guys like Jim McMahon led them to a Superbowl back in the day, but it hasn't been since Jay Cutler that the Bears could say they had a franchise QB, and even he wasn't what they were hoping for.

Entering the 2017 NFL draft, the Bears had an opportunity to draft a franchise QB with Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson sitting on the board when the Bears were expected to pick. Instead, they shocked the world by not only trading up to No. 2, but then taking Mitch Trubisky instead with the hopes he would materialize into the franchise QB they need.

Despite showing signs of promise at times, Trubisky never lived up to the No. 2 billing he was drafted at and thus sent the Bears back again as he was released just four years after being drafted. Then came the 2021 NFL draft, where the Bears were not only in need of a QB again but went out and drafted Justin Fields with the hopes he would be their guy in the future.

From an athletic standpoint, Fields is extremely gifted, and no one will argue with you if you say he is the most talented QB in his class. However, talent can only get you so far as it all comes down to the mental side at the NFL level, and Fields seems to lack some of the mental fortitude you need to get the job done. Because of that, his first three years in Chicago haven't gone well, and it is getting to the point where the Bears may be forced to move on from Fields and enter another reset with no future and no No.1 guy calling the shots.

Sure, many of the issues surrounding Fields and his development fall on the coaching staff and them holding him back, but it is time that Fields starts to take accountability and not by just saying he needs to play better. Following his 99-yard passing performance on Sunday, Fields has had four games, including three in the last two seasons, where he has had under 100 yards passing in a game.

To put that into context, Trubisky only had one such game like that in four seasons, so that alone is a concerning trend. Another major issue for Fields is his turnovers from holding on to the ball too long. Whether it be interceptions or fumbles, Fields could do a better job protecting the football, and teams have exposed him to that the past few years.

Any time you are a running QB like him, you will take some hits, which in return makes you more prone to fumbling the football. The biggest concern with him right now is his poor decisions in the passing game, as it seems like he can't read a defense. That is something you heard from Trubisky during his first few seasons, and although he won't admit it, Fields seems to be going through the same issues. The coaching staff can't help you with that, and Fields needs to figure all that out.

If you go back and watch the film on the three games this season, there have been 47 times where Fields has dropped back to pass and has had at least 4.5 seconds to throw. When given that much time to throw, the NFL average is an 80% completion rate, as QBs will pick a part of defenses that give them that much time. Compare that to Fields, who is not only 20-27 on such attempts, but he also has on TDS and 3 INTs on those same plays, which is a massive concern.

That shows you that the Bears offensive line does give him some time to pass, but for the most part, he either doesn't trust himself or doesn't know how to read what a defense is doing. If that is the case, tuck the ball under your arm and use your legs to your advantage. That was one of the biggest strengths in his game a season ago, and now it appears he is unwilling to run at all.

Granted, 0-3 is not a great start to the season, but it is far from over, and there is still time for the Bears to salvage it, whether you want to believe it or not. Whatever happens from here on out will fall on the shoulders of Fields, as his play will ultimately determine the future of this team.

Should he continue to struggle and lose games, the Bears will have no choice but to move on from him and admit another failed QB draft pick. However, if he does show signs of growth the rest of the season beyond what he showed last year, the Bears at least know he isn't the problem, and that will give them a starting point for next season.

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