Matt Eberflus is Oddly Optimistic About the Bears … Pass Game?

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Matt Eberflus is Oddly Optimistic About the Bears … Pass Game?

Chicago Bears

Matt Eberflus is oddly optimistic about where the Chicago Bears pass game is going.

No, seriously.

“I loved the way he was throwing the ball down the field,” Eberflus said of Justin Fields, via NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s going to open up some more things for us.”

Eberflus would go on to say it was good to see Darnell Mooney going. That 56-yard bomb on the second drive was a refreshingly awesome reminder of what we think the Fields-Mooney connection can look like when it all clicks. But one-receiver offenses don’t win games in modern football. Then again, having one wideout heading in the right direction feels like a major leap for a team throwing it as infrequently as the Bears.

However, in the same breath in which he was highlighting Mooney’s contributions to growing the aerial attack, Eberflus also highlighted Cole Kmet’s three catches as another “so we got him going” example. And I’m going to take exception with that. Because if Kmet’s 3-catch, 16-yard game is an example of getting a player growing or proof of passing game growth, then I fear for what the future holds.

And if you think that was odd, there was a head-scratching exchange between Fields and Sun-Times reporter Jason Lieser.

This is a great catch from WGN’s Josh Frydman:

That Fields is already eschewing stats because the only thing that matters to him is wins shows how much buy-in there is on the team-first mentality that Eberflus and the new regime has instilled within this team.

Don’t get me wrong. I won’t go as far as to say stats don’t matter. That feels like we’re going overboard if we take it that far. But Fields unknowingly stumbles into making a good point — all without explicitly saying it. The hard numbers at the end of a game do not matter as much as some might otherwise believe. Particularly not when we’ve spent the offseason banging the drum declaring that the most valuable thing to come from this season is seeing Fields’ development. And for the first time in a few weeks, we can honestly say we saw growth from Fields.

Yes, seriously:

Fields’ growth as a player supersedes the numbers he puts up. Yes, we’ll use the data to analyze his game — good, bad, ugly, and more. But there needs to be a balance when it comes to the eye test, too. Let’s face it. It is incredibly hard to fairly evaluate Fields knowing there is a total lack of weapons on the outside and blockers up. That there are growing concerns about the scheme only further complicates matters. But that’s why we have to evaluate week-by-week and find takeaways from the whole experience. Think of it like putting together a puzzle. And view this week’s performance similar to what it would feel like when you figure out what to do with a piece that had been befuddling you.


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Author: Luis Medina

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