The Chicago Bears, standing at a 3-7 record, have faced a challenging season, but a pivotal question remains: Is Justin Fields their quarterback of tomorrow? As the season progresses, this question becomes increasingly significant, especially considering the potential high draft picks in the Bears' future.
Justin Fields, with his impressive 1,143 rushing yards last season, was just shy of breaking Lamar Jackson's single-season record, showcasing his dynamic ability as a rushing quarterback. The acquisition of DJ Moore was seen as a crucial step in enhancing Fields' passing game, providing him with a top-tier receiving option.
Fields' Setback, Bagent's Rise
However, Fields' progress was halted due to a dislocated thumb, leading to a four-game absence. Tyson Bagent, an undrafted rookie, stepped in and managed a 2-2 record, although his performance wasn't the sole factor in those victories.
As the Bears could potentially secure the No. 1 draft pick again, with promising prospects like USC's Caleb Williams and North Carolina's Drake Maye on the horizon, evaluating Fields becomes even more crucial. Matt Eberflus, the Bears' coach, believes the remaining seven weeks are ample for Fields to demonstrate his capability.
Fields returns against Detroit, and despite the layoff since October 15, there's optimism he can quickly regain his form, reminiscent of his outstanding performance in the 40-20 victory over Washington. The Bears' offense is bolstered by the return of right guard Nate Davis, and the backfield sees the addition of Khalil Herbert.
These changes could provide Fields the support he needs in the crucial upcoming games. During his absence, the Bears learned valuable lessons. Bagent's performance, especially against the Saints, showed promise, and his ability to handle pressure was notable.
His quick decision-making and resilience after setbacks displayed his potential as a solid backup quarterback. For Fields, the primary area of improvement is reducing sacks. His mobility is a double-edged sword, often leading to significant gains but also contributing to a high sack rate.
Chicago's offensive coordinator, Luke Getsy, emphasizes the need for Fields to balance his playmaking instincts with better awareness in the pocket. Fields' return not only reinvigorates the Bears' offense but also brings a crucial evaluation period for the team's future.
His performance in these final games could very well dictate the direction the Bears take, especially with their draft picks and strategic planning for the coming seasons. The next few weeks are more than just games for Fields; they're an opportunity to solidify his role as the leader of the Chicago Bears.