Only 18 games for Justin Fields, so that’s a small sample.
Still, he and the coaches came away encouraged by his progress on offense after Saturday’s 19-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the preseason opener.
However, there was one thing he didn’t seem to have improved on. First what he did best to do.
“Yeah, I thought it was good,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “I thought he was working fine. I know he had a few drops there. They dropped a few balls there. But we’ll clean that up. paa
“We have to be able to take those lay-ups when he’s in control and get those yards, but we’ll clean that up. That’s no problem.”
Fields completed 4 of 7 for 48 yards, rushed for 10 yards, and the Bears kicked on all three possessions he played.
“We try to score touchdowns every practice,” Eberflus said. “That’s what we do, so we certainly like it. But we like that he made his 18 games and got to work.”
Fields threw a 19-yard lob down the sideline to Tajae Sharpe and a 26-yard lob to Darnell Mooney. The pass to Sharpe was perhaps the most impressive as it stayed in the pocket for a long time. Eberflus noted that until the extended passing game work they do in training with the scrambling on the pitch/
“It was part of the training,” Eberflus said. “We let him extend the games, throw the ball on the
field, and I think you saw it there. He has great instincts. He’s an instinctive player, and he has to
harness it and use it, and it’s doing it right now.”
His other big accomplishment, to Mooney on a jump ball, was also the result of hard training, but not necessarily during training camp. He and Mooney have worked together on and off since the start of the offseason and now communicate like a quarterback and favorite receiver should.
“Yeah, I just gave him a signal there and (I) threw the ball one-on-one,” Fields said. “Of
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of course, in pre-season you’re going to see a lot of men’s coverage, so just give it a chance and it’s down with it.
“He’s a great receiver, he’s got great ball skills, he’s got great runs, so I’m excited to see what he’s done for us this season.”
Fields doubts it was a game they would find difficult to replicate and it worked because both recognized the man-to-man coverage they were facing. In pre-season, he said teams are using man-to-man coverage more freely to test unproven defensive backs.
“I think Darnell knew where I was going to put that ball, and of course I think it was routine play for
so did we,” he said. “It was of course a nice catch from him, but we’ve seen that a couple of times, so it wasn’t a surprise.”
Although Fields has acknowledged some of his own flaws in the game, he thinks he may have found fault with the officiating. He was hit by safety Juan Thornhill as he slipped on a scramble.
The initial replays looked like a shoulder-to-head hit, but another angle showed he hadn’t been hit in the head at all. Still, it looked like a late hit after Fields gave up on a slide and the Chiefs weren’t penalized.
“I mean, I would have liked to get the call, sure, but there was nothing I could do about it,” Fields said. “So I just have to move on to the next room.”
Later, he said he had discussed it with officials.
“And they said they hit me on the shoulder, but I was looking for unsportsmanlike conduct or something, late call or something, but I guess I just have to wait a few years, maybe -be four or five years, before I get that one.
“So hopefully I’ll get it soon.”
Fields had argued last year in a game against Pittsburgh that he wasn’t getting any calls while other similarly hit veteran quarterbacks were reported.