Back in 2018, the Chicago Bears had a clear mission when they began searching for a new head coach. Find somebody that could buy into Mitch Trubisky as their quarterback and get the most out of him. They eventually settled on Matt Nagy. That proved to be a mistake. While the coach may have sold them on his vision for Trubisky at the time, it came out later he was never a total believer in the young QB. So when George McCaskey and his search team reopened the hunt for a new GM and head coach last month, they changed strategies. This time they gave the green light for candidates to speak their minds on Justin Fields.
It didn’t matter whether a candidate liked the young quarterback or didn’t. They were free to offer their reasons and explain why. Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian explained this to Adam Jahns of The Athletic. In that situation, the worst thing to do is operate as if Fields’ rookie season didn’t happen. It did, and he struggled. That was bound to give certain candidates reservations about making him the focal point of their offense moving forward.
Polian and others felt it was necessary to hear such things.
When quarterback Justin Fields was discussed in interviews — whether it was with Poles and Eberflus or other candidates — the Bears maintained a collective open mind.
“It’s not what we wanted to hear; it’s what made sense,” Polian said. “We didn’t have any predisposed ideas that we wanted people to meet some standard other than excellence. And everyone agreed: We don’t know what Justin will become.
“He wasn’t ready to play when he was thrust in there this year. And any rookie who is in that situation can’t help but struggle. He got to learn what the National Football League is all about — the hard way. And now, let’s see if we can’t get him on the right path, both schematically and technically, to make him the best quarterback he can be. He’s got talent to work with, but it’s unproven and unformed at this point.”
This is a fair assessment. Many are already treating Fields like the franchise guy. That is a misguided assumption at this point. There is no denying the kid is ultra-talented, but he has a ton of work to do before he can be called the solution to the Bears’ long-standing problem at quarterback. Some candidates that interviewed with the team felt this way. They weren’t big believers in Fields.
Ryan Poles was not one of them. He is said to have made it clear he likes Fields a lot and went into details about how he’d go about helping the young quarterback improve moving forward. Both in terms of the coaching he’d get and the talent the new GM would put around him. This wasn’t the only reason Poles was hired, but it indeed went a long way in helping him get the job.
Justin Fields already has a way more cohesive plan around him
Nagy thought he had the right idea when the Bears drafted him. Just sit the rookie on the bench like Patrick Mahomes for a year. Easy. Except it became clear right away how flawed Nagy’s thinking was. Sitting Fields was one thing but not giving him any work in training camp with the starting offense felt misguided. He was operating under the assumption that Andy Dalton would not struggle or perhaps get injured. Sure enough, the veteran went down with a bone bruise in the second game of the season.
Caught flat-footed, Nagy tossed a woefully unprepared Justin Fields to the wolves in Cleveland a week later. The rookie was sacked nine times. The offense never seemed to adjust even after that. They still ran many of the same plays meant for somebody like Dalton. Nagy refused to cater more to Fields’ strengths. While there were still flashes of brilliance, the consistency needed for success never showed up.
The new coaching staff doesn’t plan to make the same mistakes.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy didn’t beat around the bush. When asked during his opening press conference, he made one thing clear. This offense would be built around the strengths of Fields. Everything he does well will be catered to and maximized. A great first step in fixing what the previous regime did.
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