The Chicago Bears offense is sputtering out the gate.
Having a solid ground game is nice, but it hasn’t opened the passing attack as much as we thought. Heck, it really hasn’t opened the pass game at all to this point. And that is a problem.
Justin Fields is off to an awful start. He is completing just 50.7 percent of his passes, has twice as many interceptions (4) than passing touchdowns (2), and owns a 58.7 passer rating that makes me wish the forward pass was never invented in the first place. Fields’ struggles have everyone trying to figure out what is happening with one of the best and most popular quarterback prospects in recent years. What is wrong? What is going on? Is this fixable? Where can it go from here?
Frankly, I thought former Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long put it well:
Firstly, we need to point out that it’s not just one thing. But if we are to highlight one thing, protection on drop-backs is worth noting, as is Long’s assessment of Fields’ “gun shy” nature. That rang bells in my head. Mainly because we’re often seeing Fields bail out and run at the first sign of trouble far too often in the early going of the 2022 season; whether he is hearing footsteps or seeing ghosts, the result has been unsavory to watch. Then again, I’d be doing the same thing if presented with this offensive line and those weapons.
In a later tweet, Long offers up an alternative. One that I find to be worth exploring:
I’m not trying to be a hipster when I point out that we thought it would be a good idea for the Bears to do some Ravens-like stuff last year. And while Matt Nagy and his staff didn’t use that template (because jamming square pegs into round holes was far more entertaining for that bunch), it doesn’t mean Luke Getsy and the Bears offense can’t draw inspiration from elsewhere.
The Bears already have a good ground-and-pound attack with Khalil Herbert and David Montgomery. And even though Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields are different quarterbacks, perhaps they would be wise to spice it up with some of these concepts from Jackson’s MVP season:
And it shouldn’t just be the rushing aspect on the Bears’ mind. Jackson doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his passing efforts:
We haven’t used the word “fun” associated with Chicago’s offense in quite some time. I mean, we often use another word that starts with “F,” … but this is a family website.
There is an expansive video of Baldy breaking down how the Ravens’ scheme brings the best out of Jackson. And you should give it a look:
And, in the end, that’s what it all boils down to for me. Fields has a particular set of skills. Skills he has naturally as an athlete. And skills that he acquired in his development at Ohio State. Fields properly wielding his skills could be a nightmare for opposing defenses. I one day hope there is a Baldinger breakdown of the Bears’ scheme maximizing Fields’ skillset.