Justin Fields Comes to the Defense of His Receiving Corps

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Justin Fields Comes to the Defense of His Receiving Corps

Chicago Bears

One thing I think we’ll see more out of Justin Fields is an increase in public displays of leadership.

It can be challenging to establish yourself as a leader in your rookie season. And when it came to Fields, finding his footing in a leadership capacity was a smidge more difficult because he began the year behind Andy Dalton on the depth chart. Fields was always going to be the face of the future, but it isn’t easy to get to that point when you’re playing second-fiddle behind a respected veteran. But that isn’t an issue any more for Fields. Moreover, he isn’t wasting much time in showing off some leadership qualities.

In an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report’s Scott Polacek, Fields did what any strong leader would do when his teammates are taking it on the chin. He publicly backed them with his full support:

“We don’t have an Odell [Beckham Jr.] or a Cooper Kupp on our team, but at the end of the day I think if everybody is on their P’s and Q’s, and we’re on top of everything and not making mistakes, the players we have right now are good enough,” he told Bleacher Report in an exclusive interview. “The front office thinks that, too. The fans outside of the facility, they don’t know what’s going on at practice. Just because we don’t have a big-name guy, doesn’t mean those guys aren’t talented. I have plenty of confidence in myself and my teammates that we’re going to get the job done.”

It’s been a rough offseason for Bears fans who were hoping new GM Ryan Poles would stockpile an assortment of weapons for Fields to throw to this offseason. But instead of taking that course of action, Poles’ most high-profile acquisitions were on the defensive side of the ball. Not just with second-round picks Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker. But also with defensive tackle Justin Jones and fellow defensive lineman Al-Quadin Muhammad. Not quite the offseason maneuvering that was expected when the Bears were tied to so many receivers in trade, free agency, and NFL Draft rumors.

And yet, it sure sounds like Fields is down to party with the receivers the Bears *DID* bring into the mix. Frankly, I admire Fields’ gumption and confidence in his new teammates. That’s big leadership energy. And he’ll need it in spades to make it through this season.

I’m not sure who needed to hear it more — Bears fans with concerns about the offense or the pass-catchers in the receivers room — but I’m glad it was said. Because it’s not as if receivers room doesn’t have talent or upside. It’s incomplete, to be sure. But it isn’t a wholly barren wasteland. An island of misfit toys? Perhaps. But you never know good can come from that group.

Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown aren’t splashy names. But Pringle has professional starting experience and St. Brown comes to Chicago with knowledge of the offense and high-end athleticism. Dante Pettis has major post-hype sleeper vibes after being unable to totally capture the magic in San Francisco. And Tajae Sharpe has potential to be a WR4 type who bolsters the back end of the depth chart. The Velus Jones Jr. pick has had its share of scrutiny, but there’s plenty of upside. In the end, it sounds like Fields is ready and willing to make it work with what he has. And that he is already showing confidence in this group makes me think they could surprise some folks. At minimum, there is reason enough to have a glimmer of hope.

Even still … it’s been a rough offseason for Bears fans who were hoping new GM Ryan Poles would stockpile an assortment of weapons for Fields to throw to this offseason.

But in an era where we often see receivers who make their quarterbacks better, maybe Fields’ raw talent operating in a system better suited for him to show out will lead to QB1 elevating those around him. I’m willing to watch and see how it shakes out.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.