The wait for rookie Justin Fields to become the Bears’ starting quarterback has been brutal. He took over in Week 3, nearly a year before the Bears’ initial plan, but it seemed like a century.
So after coach Matt Nagy makes the move permanent, rather than an interim one until Andy Dalton returns from a knee injury, the last thing everyone wants to hear is that it will take some time for Fields to fully launch.
The sad truth is that rookie quarterbacks always need time and early mistakes are inevitable. But the upside is that Fields has arrived as an accomplished and tested college player and has shown his aptitude at every turn since joining the Bears. Maybe he won’t need that long after all.
Nagy said he saw significant changes in the two weeks between Fields leaving against the Browns and his first practice as a certified starter. He jumped up trying to follow the practice to perform it. He was bossy, composed and thorough as he prepared to visit the Raiders on Sunday.
“Drastically different,” Nagy said. His tempo in and out of the caucus, all that. Your first day there, you try [to keep track of so much]: ‘I’ll check the time. i will do my [middle linebacker] IDENTIFIER. I’ll do whatever I have to do.
And it’s all a little slower [than Dalton]. . . . Every week it gets a little easier, a little faster. ”
There is no doubt that Fields’ progress over the week will be seen in the games as he settles into the job.
This is where a decision that is in the Bears’ best long-term interest to get their franchise quarterback the experience they need could coincide with short-term goals of qualifying for the playoffs. playoffs and – whether or not he recognizes what is at stake – Nagy keeps his job. . While it will take years for Fields to learn everything Dalton has learned in over a decade, he could be a game-changer by the end of the month, if not sooner.
Of the 13 first-round quarterbacks drafted from 2017 to 2020, only Josh Rosen failed to get a 100 pass mark in a game. The other dozen made it, on average, on their third start. Last season’s first players – Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert – each hit that mark on their second or third start.
Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who made four picks after Fields this year, did so in his debut and again in his fourth start.
The passer rating isn’t everything, of course, and Mitch Trubisky had his first triple-digit performance completing 4 of 7 passes for 107 yards on his third start, but that’s a pretty reasonable gauge of trajectory. ‘a quarterback.
Fields, for example, went from 41.2 against the Browns to 82.7 against the Lions, and this latest performance was better than that. The Bears have had the ninth-worst passer rating in the NFL over the past two seasons, and that generally matches his appearance.
In Fields’ case, as with Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, that number will always be an incomplete summary of his performance as it does not take into account his abilities as a runner. This is called the passer rating, not the quarterback rating, but being a quarterback involves more than just a pitch.
He’s on a certain end of the spectrum with how productive he can be when he [runs]Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said, comparing Fields with more traditional quarterbacks.
This is an advantage for the Bears and Fields. The mere possibility that he sprints for a first try will open up opportunities for him to throw. And it looks like he’s going to figure this out – and many more – very quickly.