I was part of the group who thought Justin Fields should start right away for the Chicago Bear, but I know there is a select group of people who disagree.
And it’s good.
Fields struggled in his rookie season, even though the Bears are 2-3 in his starts (and 1-0 when he came in for Andy Dalton), but some of the struggles aren’t. entirely his fault.
Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson admitted he and Fields were still working on developing chemistry because the rookie had so few first-team reps at training camp.
“This is something that we continue to build on, once again, continuing to put reps into practice” Robinson said on Tuesday. “There weren’t a lot of pictures we took at training camp. We’re just trying to build on a lot of these things.
Dalton dominated first team reps throughout the offseason as Matt Nagy and the Bears thought they were cheating on us all by saying he was the team’s starting quarterback for the 2021 season. Dalton’s injury cost him the starting job at the start, but didn’t we really see that coming?
Chicago traded for Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft, and yet Nagy insisted on giving Dalton the lion’s share of the job in the offseason rather than developing the rookie quarterback. We know what Andy Dalton is and was, and you’re not going to win with him this season.
Nagy was wrong, and whether it was her decision or the pressure from the front office that led Fields to be named a starter, the rookie was set to fail from the jump.
Fields appeared completely outmatched in games against the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, throwing for 232 yards and three picks in those games.
The rookie deserves some of the blame, as he has occasionally made questionable throws, but he’s also dealing with a poorly constructed offense around him.
The Bears’ roster is a mess, as the team pulled out last year’s starting offensive tackles (Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie) due to cap issues. The team managed Jason Peters, an excellent tackle who is now very clearly stranded, to protect Fields as draft pick Teven Jenkins recovers from injury.
It’s incredibly frustrating to watch Fields struggle, when he probably didn’t have enough reps in an attack that’s already crumbling around him.
Of course, Nagy wanted to seat Fields behind Dalton, but when was the rookie going to have significant reps to actually be ready to start? Next season?
Fields was set up to fail by a coach trying to save his job and a front office that has groped move after move since a 12-4 season in 2018. Fields isn’t shaking well in his rookie season, and to Unless the Bears decide to do housework in the offseason (and they should), he’s going to face similar issues in the future.
The Bears are 3.5-point home underdogs in Week 8 against the San Francisco 49ers at WynnBET. Fields will face another tough passing run, and given their struggles so far against them this season, the Bears are legitimate underdogs in this game.