I’m not one to go on a limb, but I think this Justin Fields fella has a future with the Bears.
Here’s how his preseason numbers stack up:
⇒ 30/49 passing (61.2%) for 276 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 90.2 passer rating
⇒ 11 carries, 92 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
Fields was in on 17 drives this preseason, and he made the most of it. At minimum, we saw flashes of why the Bears made a move up in the 2021 NFL Draft to take him with the 11th overall pick:
Justin Fields’ ball-placement is ELITE
— PFF (@PFF) August 29, 2021
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) August 21, 2021
Endzone, meet @justnfields. 🤝
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 14, 2021
Fields has been showing off his tools all summer at training camp, but seeing them in game situations has been a real treat.
The arm strength pops. There is a certain zip on the ball that Bears fans aren’t used to seeing from their quarterback. Same can be said about the decision-making ability. Matt Nagy is one to talk about throwing with conviction and making quick decisions. Fields has done that in his preseason cameos. “It’s just an exhibition game” caveats aside, it was good to see Fields put that on tape for us to see. Teaming quick decisions with strong throws and accurate ball placement is a good place to start for a QB on the rise.
Additionally, Fields’ mobility stands out. Some of that could be due to spending most of training camp and the preseason working behind a makeshift offensive line. Some of the runs that “wow’d” us were a product of protection breakdowns and Fields needing to make something happen with his legs. And unless the Olin Kreutz, Big Cat Williams, Jimbo Covert, Tom Thayer, and Ruben Brown are walking through the Halas Hall doors at the peak of their powers, then I expect for that scrambling ability to come in handy early and often in 2021.
Of course, it wasn’t all perfect:
Andre Smith in on Justin Fields, and gets called for roughing the passer. pic.twitter.com/eZPIqIbhPY
— Justin Groc (@jgroc) August 21, 2021
Needham forces a fumble on Fields but Justin gets it back. Needham is ballin pic.twitter.com/mKcbQcyU1E
— FinCuts (@FinCuts) August 14, 2021
Fields wasn’t dinged too badly this preseason. That Andre Smith hit was rough to watch in person and on replay. But Fields did well in avoiding those types of hits. As for the spin move-fumble combo from preseason Week 1, we haven’t seen that either. Fields joked about retiring the spin move, but there is always some truth in humor. Defenders at this level are too good to be spun on like that. Maybe just keep it in the back pocket for a rainy day. Or when the defense won’t expect it.
All in all, Fields put more good tape than bad out there during the preseason. In fact, Fields put enough solid stuff out there to suggest that he should be QB1 to open the season. Instead, Andy Dalton will get those honors. But that Fields is forcing us, fans, and talking heads in football circles to entertain serious conversations about how soon he should start says everything we needed to know about his preseason efforts.