Training fields

How long before Justin Fields arrives?

Matt Nagy still plays the long game.

You will remember when the Bears came out of the draft and entered the rookie camp, the plan was to start quarterback Andy Dalton and let Justin Fields sit as long as needed so he could assimilate the offensive and learn to attack defenses. maybe by the process of osmosis or something like that.

As anyone could tell Nagy, people who sit and learn will learn to sit in this sport. Don’t bring up Aaron Rodgers. He could have put all NFL records to rest had he been allowed to start before sophomore year.

The role model for Nagy’s legendary successful formula for developing a quarterback was Patrick Mahomes. He spent a year in Kansas City with Mahomes and was assisted by Corey Matthaei to work with quarterbacks.

It is not clear that the sitting did any good for Mahomes. He played one game in 2017 and scored 22 of 35 for 287 yards without touchdown but with one interception for a below-average passer rating of 76.4. He led a 27-24 victory over Denver, a team led by the very forgettable Paxton Lynch.

Maybe Mahomes grew by sitting there for almost a full year, but maybe working through the next offseason and preseason with Eric Bieniemy and Mike Kafka under Andy Reid has gone even further. far into the development of Mahomes. No one can be sure.

But it’s evident that Fields isn’t quite ready to hit that level of play towards the end of his first – and possibly only year – under Nagy.

It has been a season of gradual improvement in Fields’ small increments, regardless of what some detractors or those who bow at his feet say. His important core stats for the NFL indicate he’s improved slightly each month.

The Bears are 2-8 in his 10 starts and he’s lost seven straight starts. Part of it is his fault, a lot of it is the fault of an offense that was going nowhere before he even became a starter.

His passer rating has gradually improved since he took over. It’s almost at Mitchell Trubisky’s level after his freshman year. It is 73.5. Trubisky finished Year 1 at 77.5.

He’s averaging over 6.9 yards per attempt in an offense where the identities of his receivers other than Darnell Mooney have been guessed every week since the game with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 8. His pass protection has been a problem for much of the year. . It seems he is holding the ball too long and that makes the situation worse. Still, there’s no denying that Teven Jenkins is now starting on left tackle, and getting through three different right tackles hasn’t helped as he’s been sacked 36 times, the fourth-highest total in the league.

Justin Fields’ Progress

Month by month

Month Percentage of completion Passers-by rating yards / attempt

Until September




Until October




Until November




Until December




So, after Monday night’s game, Nagy explained exactly where he thinks Fields is and how long he thinks it will take the Bears starter to reach his potential.

“I think he learns through those times that he personally learns, the games where he can improve, but the games he does well too,” Nagy said. “It will be something for him not just right now – as you can tell he’s had these games that he starts and plays – but it will be something that will continue with him next year and the year. next.

“And then when he gets to that third and fourth year, that’s when you’re really going to start, it’s going to be,” OK, this game is super slow. “But it takes a little while. He understands it. He knows it.

Nagy’s judgment of time seems flawed.

A little time in the NFL is the third and fourth year?

At one time this was true. Since they have fifth year options on the contracts, it is better if it is the third year or earlier. In the fourth year, you are Mitchell Trubisky: the fifth year option is refused, over and over.

“Every rookie in this sport wants this to happen overnight, and it takes time,” Nagy said. “Justin is built the right way, and you know he’s gonna be really, really good.”

It didn’t take Mahomes three or four years, and he wasn’t who he is now after 10 games.

It didn’t take Mac Jones or Justin Herbert long. Both were ready to go. Josh Allen wasn’t ready at first, but by his sophomore year he was. Jalen Hurts’ second year has been an improvement, but he’s not quite there yet. For Kyler Murray, it was much better his second year and remarkable his third.

Quarterbacks vary, but what is certain is that teams can’t wait forever in the modern NFL salary cap climate, and fourth year is too late to wait.

Fans don’t want to wait either.

When Fields comes into his second year, he’ll likely be coached by someone else. This whole process will undoubtedly set him back.

It may be even worse if it turns out that the current staff’s work with him has been a total and utter harm, as was Dowell Loggains and Co. with Trubisky.

If Fields is the quarterback the Bears believe, the one who made “wow” plays because he’s him, then he’s going to be better anyway and be ready long before his fourth year, if not his third year.

So much for Fields will depend on the next coaching hire.

He has to be someone who can both coach a quarterback and reverse an attack like the Bears intended.

It is essential to have someone who actually did it, or someone who is involved in doing it now.

Twitter: BearDigest @ BearsOnMaven

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