Bears rookie minicamp is here! And at the top, we get our first look at Justin Fields wearing Bears things:
Never been so happy to add new images to the 🤔 folder. pic.twitter.com/92WMVShoP3
— Funky Cold Luda (@lcm1986) May 14, 2021
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been digging the photoshop jobs folks have been creating with Fields rocking Bears fits. But it hits differently to see him in official Bears gear.
In any case, I’ve collected some of the highlights from Fields’ minicamp press conference. And, I’ve thrown in some commentary of my own. You can check it out in its entirety below. In the meantime, check out some excerpts.
“I’m Built For This”
Some rookies arrive to their new teams with this “aww shucks” attitude and a happy-go-lucky “I’m just happy to be here!” vibe. And then there’s Justin Fields:
Justin Fields on being ready for the spotlight in Chicago:
"I'm made for this. I'm built for this." pic.twitter.com/14YJFffK5Z
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) May 14, 2021
Fields being asked about being under the spotlight, something he has been familiar with since growing up as a prep star and responding with “I’m built for this” is everything this Bears fan wanted to hear. And I imagine I’m not alone in sharing this sentiment. That was legitimately my favorite part in a press conference that had me nodding my head and smiling at several different points. So much of a quarterback’s success starts with what’s between the ears. It’s the combination of smarts, swagger, and ability to carry yourself that can go a long way. Fields certainly has all of the above as he arrives at Soldier Field. And he runs a 40-yard-dash in 4.4 seconds. Plus he can throw a football over them mountains.
A New Playbook
I found is interesting, even if it comes with layers:
#Bears QB Justin Fields on the differences in an NFL playbook vs. the Ohio State playbook: "It's probably the same. I think the only different thing is that at Ohio State we did signals from the sideline."
— Sean Hammond (@sean_hammond) May 14, 2021
Part of my brain goes to a place where I want to to discuss the transition from college to the pros. And specifically, what it’s like to go from relaying signals on the sidelines to sharing play calls from a headset and translating them in the huddle. But a bigger takeaway for me is Fields’ feeling that the Ohio State playbook and the Bears playbook are similar. I don’t want to read too much into this, but I think one thing that hurt the Bears offense last year was that it felt as if they ran two different offenses. One was more tailored to Mitchell Trubisky’s strengths, while the other was highlighting more of what Nick Foles could do.
Moving forward, the Bears would be smart to build their offense around Fields’ strengths and make tweaks for Andy Dalton (or Foles, if necessary), rather than the other way around. Fields is the future. Let’s treat the playbook as if we’re acknowledging that fact.
The Waiting Game
Fields is used to playing at a high level and winning. What he isn’t accustomed to is sitting and waiting. That makes the opening of his rookie campaign so intriguing. There is a plan in place right now for Andy Dalton to start as QB1, with Fields waiting in the wings. It’s a plan that many will liken to what the Chiefs did in 2017 with Patrick Mahomes backing up Alex Smith.
Yet, I’d bet on Fields doing what he can to push the envelope. Even if he has to wait his turn:
“I think everybody on our team should be striving for a starting job. If you’re not, there’s no reason for you to be here. Of course I’m gong to do everything I can to get that starting job. It’s not up to me. Coach Nagy has a set plan for my development and stuff like that. But I’m just gonna work hard, keep my head down, and keep grinding every day.”
For the record, I love that Nagy has looped Fields in on his development plan. But I think I’d love it more if Fields forces a tough decision by the time September rolls around.
Odds and Ends…
⇒ Ain’t this the truth:
Justin Fields on the process of learning a new playbook and getting up to speed with the Bears: "If you want to be great at something, you have to work hard at it."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) May 14, 2021
⇒ Real ones know the learning power that flash cards possess:
Justin Fields is in the process of learning the #Bears offense, meeting w/ coaches & going through mental installs. Said he spends 30-45 mins after meetings going through his notes and made flashcards to draw up the formations.
“Eventually I’ll know it like the back of my hand.” pic.twitter.com/bbQF1D8XhL
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) May 14, 2021
⇒ Gotta love the shout outs and referring to Bears backers as “our fans” already:
Justin Fields: "From the get-go I could tell the love from the @ChicagoBears fans and how passionate our fans are."
— Lauren Screeden (@lscreeden) May 14, 2021