Throughout minicamp and OTA practices, Fields consistently displayed more leadership and huddle proficiency than he did as a rookie.
“When he comes in to state the play or give us what we need to know to go out and run the play, it’s a lot more fluid,” left guard Cody Whitehair said in June. “He says it with more confidence, and I think that’s just him growing from Year 1 to Year 2. We like where Justin is at and we’re really excited for the year.”
Bears coach Matt Eberflus has said repeatedly that he expects Fields to take a big leap forward in his second season in the NFL. As a rookie, the former Ohio State star appeared in 12 games with 10 starts, throwing for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 73.2 passer rating. He also rushed for 420 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries.
Fields showed flashes of his dynamic dual-threat ability, most notably on a spectacular 22-yard touchdown run against the 49ers and crafting a 75-yard TD drive to give the Bears a late lead over the Steelers. But he also made mistakes that need to be corrected, like taking too many sacks and not protecting the ball at times.
A fundamental change the Bears made to Fields this offseason was to have him line up in the shotgun formation with his left foot forward instead of his right foot like last year. The switch is meant to help him get rid of the ball faster.
The Bears are hoping Fields will resume in training camp where he left off during offseason practices. He will continue to work on mastering the new system with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko.
“Luke and Andrew do a great job with footwork and timing,” Eberflus said last month. “That, to me, is obvious. You can see it in the drill work. You can see them going from the drill work to 11-on-11 reps. It’s clearly improving, so I’m excited about that.”
Fields has shown an impressive work ethic throughout the offseason, training not only at Halas Hall, but away from the facilities with teammates Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet. Fields has also worked with former NFL stars Colin Kaepernick and Chad Johnson, among others.
Siemian Backup Plan Features
Experienced veteran Trevor Siemian will be the No. 2 quarterback for the Bears, having signed a two-year contract in late March. He appeared in 33 NFL games with 29 starts in six seasons with the Broncos (2015-17), Vikings (2018), Jets (2019), Titans (2020) and Saints (2020-21), throwing for 6,843 yards with 41 touchdowns, 27 interceptions and an 81.2 passer rating.
Siemian was selected by the Broncos in the seventh round of the 2015 draft over Northwestern. As a rookie, he only played one snap – taking a knee late in the first half in a game against the Steelers – but won a Super Bowl ring as Denver beat the Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50.
After Peyton Manning’s retirement, Siemian won a training camp competition for the No. 1 spot in 2016. As a result, he became the first quarterback in league history to start an opener. season for a defending Super Bowl champion without throwing an NFL pass. Siemian opened 14 games in 2016 and 10 contests in 2017 for the Broncos, passing for 5,686 yards with 30 touchdowns, 24 interceptions and a 79.9 rating.
Last season, he played in six games with four starts for the Saints, throwing for 1,154 yards with 11 touchdowns, three interceptions and an 88.4 rating.
The Bears preferred Siemian as a backup quarterback over veteran Nick Foles – who was released with a year remaining on his contract – as they felt Siemian was better suited to their offense and had a wealth of knowledge, having backed two future Halls of Famers to Manning and Drew Brees.
Nathan Peterman will head to camp as the Bears’ No. 3 quarterback, after signing a one-year contract in May. He appeared in 10 NFL games in four seasons with the Bills (2017-18) and Raiders (2019-21), passing for 573 yards with three touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 34.0 rating.
Peterman was selected by the Bills in the fifth round of the 2017 draft in Pittsburgh. After being waived in November 2018, he joined the Raiders, where he spent the rest of the season on the practice squad. Peterman missed the 2019 season with an elbow injury before serving as a backup to Derek Carr for the past two years.