Training fields

Bears QB Justin Fields peaked in the preseason at the perfect time

It’s been nearly a week since the Chicago Bears ended the preseason with a narrow win over the Cleveland Browns and while roster cuts and waiver requests have been front and center, many people are still talking about quarterback Justin Fields’ performance from that game.

Fields was masterful, completing 14 of 16 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. He was doing it in and out of the pocket with precise throws and deceptive moves that confused the Browns defense.

It was exactly what Bears fans wanted to see from their sophomore pointer, but we’ve also seen this story before when it comes to young quarterbacks awe-inspiring in the preseason and failing in the regular season.

Notably, former 2017 first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky comes to mind during his rookie year when he set the NFL world on fire in the preseason but had trouble. wrong when the games actually mattered. It’s easy to attribute strong preseason performances to vanilla covers and playing against reserves, but it feels different with Fields, and it also comes at the perfect time.

Before we dive into Fields’ game, let’s step back to 2017 with Trubisky and his first preseason. Although this was Trubisky’s rookie year and Fields’ second season, both are young quarterbacks during this time and are learning new offenses. Trubisky wowed early on, going 18 of 25 for 166 yards and a score in his debut against the Denver Broncos, giving Bears fans hope that they had finally ironed out their quarterbacking woes.

His success didn’t stop there either as Trubisky continued to play strong in the preseason in his next two games against the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans. He finished the preseason 36 of 53 for 364 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in four games. Compare that stat line with Fields, who went 23 of 30 for 243 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in three games and both players look pretty strong.

Like the weekend before with Fields, the fanbase was through the roof over Trubisky’s potential during this time in 2017. Even national media pundits thought the Bears were finally over the hump in when it comes to their quarterback woes.

Despite all of Trubisky’s praise, he was still acting as a substitute for Mike Glennon, knowing that he wasn’t starting Week 1. In fact, he didn’t know when he would enter a game for the first time, which creates uncertainty for a position that requires players to be consistent in their preparation. Needless to say, after finally getting the go-ahead to start in Week 5 of that year, Trubisky’s rookie season was a wash and provided only a few standout plays before the Bears changed hands. head coach in 2018.

Coming back to the present, what does all of this have to do with Fields and his recent success? On the one hand, Fields had a similar situation during his rookie season in 2021, outplaying the quarterbacks on the roster but still having no chance of winning the starting job until injury opened the door. His rookie season was also a washout for a number of reasons, but grooming as QB2 in the offseason didn’t do him any favors.

Now in Year 2 and on a new offense, however, he’s progressed through camp and every game of the preseason, improving with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s plan. The Bears offense may as well have rode a tricycle against the Kansas City Chiefs, switched to Seattle Seahawks practice wheels and switched to a bicycle against the Browns with the way Fields and the offensive behaved.

Getsy seemed to agree during his press conference earlier in the week on Tuesday.

“As I mentioned before, I thought the first game of the pre-season, I was happy with the process and the calling play in the huddle, the snapping at the line of scrimmage, the movements and the absence penalties,” Getsy told reporters. “It carried over to pre-season two and I thought he got even better in pre-season three, so I think we were all happy with that part.”

Getsy also acknowledged there was still room for improvement.

Fields takes whatever Getsy throws at him and makes something happen with it. He looks faster with his outings, he’s more confident when rolling out and he just looks more balanced than last year. You can also go back and see the progressions during Trubisky’s preseason, his rookie year, but unlike that, Fields won’t have to wait to continue his development.

After his performance against the Browns, Fields already knows he’s the guy. There’s no one he’s competing against, no one breathing down his neck, and no one he has to wait behind for an indefinite amount of time like his rookie season last year.

Fields can take everything he just did against the Browns and build on it in less than two weeks when the San Francisco 49ers visit Soldier Field for Week 1. For Trubisky in 2017, he had to wait a month and a half to make it a game after his pre-season. Despite all his warts, don’t you think playing behind someone like Glennon could shake a person’s confidence?

There’s something to be said for not just playing with confidence, but also playing with confidence and knowing that you have the ability to keep saving it in future games that are just a few days away. . Fields even admitted he knew Saturday’s game was going to be good.

“I kind of had a feeling before, but sometimes you feel good going into the game, you feel confident,” Fields told reporters after the win. “Hopefully we can go into every game feeling like this.”

He even said that this game felt like a turning point in the future, although Getsy made sure to manage expectations as the two continued to develop together.

Preseason performances disappear when the real games start and Trubisky’s performance five years ago is a cautionary tale that success doesn’t always translate into the regular season.

As for Fields, though, he has a chance to continue building on those advancements in the short term, knowing the Bears are his team. He picked a good time to have his best pre-season game.

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