Justin Fields regularly follows trends on Twitter. It doesn’t matter if the bears are in hibernation. It doesn’t matter if a scientist has found a cure for cancer. The Bears quarterback is still there, like your conscience. I’ll ask myself, “It’s March, the season is months away and what could people say about him?”
I’m stupid. There’s always something to say about Fields even when there really isn’t. Undeterred by his rocky rookie season, Bears fans have maintained a tidal wave of love for the kid. He will wear it at the start of training camp on Tuesday. On social media, the reason for talking about him may come from a number of inspirations – video of a perfect 15-meter minicamp pass throwing a thousand odes. The ranking of a quarterback from an expert who outrageously defames Our Man. A report that shows Fields’ jersey as one of the NFL’s best sellers.
If he lives up to even a fraction of what people see for him in the second year of his career, he’ll be competing in four sports this year.
And all of that – the love, the strident defenses, the virtual bullying – is OK. If you can’t hope during training camp, you can never hope.
I’m about to ask what’s realistic for Fields in 2022, knowing full well that realism has about as much to do with boot camp as goat yoga. The reality is that, as physically talented as his biggest supporters say, the Bears’ level of offensive talent shouldn’t match that of a good NFL offense. This side of the ball could be really bad this season.
Now, before the true believers jump on me for injecting negativity (realism!) into what should be a joyous occasion (the start of camp), I want to point out that I have graciously given you a way out. . If Fields isn’t living up to your Year 2 expectations, you can say new GM Ryan Poles has loaded the poor guy up with linemen who can’t block and receivers who can’t receive.
Last year, you could say Fields’ struggles were all Matt Nagy’s fault. Nagy is the former Bears coach who critics say wouldn’t know a pass from a run, an X from an O or a quarterback from a nickelback. In this reading of the situation, Fields’ seven touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 73.2 passer rating were Nagy’s doing.
I would like to say that we will know soon if Nagy was to blame for everything, but I don’t think we will. Not that Nagy escapes condemnation. His ship has sailed, and it’s called the SS Ineptitude Offensive. But with the Bears’ talent level expected to be so low on offense, it’s going to be hard to pin all the misfortunes on the planet on Nagy. I know you will try.
However, the excuse game can only last for so long. There has to be real progress from Fields, and just because the offense shouldn’t be great doesn’t mean he has to spend a season running in place. I want to see his accuracy improve. He obviously has a good arm. Can this arm deliver soccer balls into the hands of receivers? Fields certainly didn’t do that well enough last season.
The rest is a matter of merit – what his teammates say about his caucus leadership skills, how he processes information, etc. Just complete passes more often. The difficult and the easy. If he can do that, then maybe he can be the quarterback his legion of followers say he already is. Until then, it’s just a sound barrier on social media.
Again, that’s OK for now. The training camp has two parallel tracks. A track is intended for players and coaches. The other is for unbridled optimism, even when logic tells you to hold your horses. So enjoy next month. The Bears’ preseason opener is against the Chiefs on August 13, with Nagy, now a Kansas City assistant, returning to Soldier Field. If Fields has a good game, I wouldn’t want to be Nagy. If Fields doesn’t have a good game, Bears fans can blame everyone else. What a beautiful thing is the pre-season.
I don’t know what you call what the Bears are doing. A rebuild? A rebuild gives sports franchises license to stink while offering hope. It’s a weird sale, but it’s all the rage these days.
The Bears should just get it over with and change their name to “Justin Fields’ Bears.” I think I’ll put this on Twitter. Feel free to “like” it.