A Thoughtful Justin Fields Has a Unique Perspective on the Future of NFL Quarterbacking
One of my favorite things about the weekly NFL grind is when quarterback Justin Fields meets with the media.
Admittedly, it’s a nerdy thing to have on your favorites list. But I want you to hang with me here.
Fields doesn’t always have a dynamite “gotcha!” quote. But he does often say things that pique my interest. We shouldn’t take introspective thoughts from QB1 for granted, no matter how big or small.
With that in mind, I found something Fields said about the evolution of quarterbacks in the NFL to be worth some discussion.
Kudos to Kameron Hay of Complex, who asks Fields about how it feels to be part of what appears to be a renaissance period in the NFL that is giving more respect to Black quarterbacks, and got this answer:
I think the game is just changing to be honest with you. Unless you have a crazy offensive line where you can just sit back there and chill in the pocket, you’re going to have to be mobile. So I think you’re going to find more African American quarterbacks who can extend plays. The game is just changing, when you step on the field and see 260, 270-pound dudes running 4.6’s that’s tough for an offensive line to hold up every play. As a quarterback, you’re going to have to use your legs and extend plays. Having that aspect of your game, it’s very important in today’s game.
This is a pretty darn thoughtful answer on so many levels. Fields addresses the evolution of the game, the transformation of players suiting up, and how a quarterback’s mobility is helpful in said player’s advancement as the league grows and changes. It is also noteworthy that Fields acknowledges that hurdles offensive linemen face in blocking these monster defenders. Even the best offensive lines allow pressures, sacks, knockdowns, and quarterback hits from time to time. Hence, the value in having enough mobility to extend plays gives players like him a leg up (no pun intended!) at the quarterback position.
We know Fields ran for more than 1,000 yards last season. But what I’ve yet to quantify is how many times Fields’ legs extended pass plays that went for chunk yardage. A few come to mind. However, it was those running plays gashing opposing defenses that stand out the most. Turning lost plays into highlight reel moments (and scores) gave us silver linings in an otherwise lost season.
Just don’t get used to it. Because even Fields warns to not expect him to run wild next year.
“I was just trying to run around and make things happen out of busted plays,” Field explained while answering a question about what caused him to run more after being known as a pocket passer in college. “I think this year I just had to use my legs a little bit more to put points up on the board. But hopefully this coming year and the rest of my career I won’t have to run as much.”
Fields’ win-at-all-costs mentality — displayed in his willingness and ability to make something out of nothing — will bode well for him (and the Bears) in years to come. But, ideally, it won’t be as run-based in the years to come.
Oh, while you’re here, did you see this awesome Fields Hype Video: