The arrival of Luke Getsy as offensive coordinator was welcomed by Chicago Bears fans. They feel the young coach has the background necessary to finally utilize Justin Fields in the correct way. Too often last season Matt Nagy and his staff refused to work to the rookie’s strengths. Not enough bootlegs, moving pockets, play action, or high-percentage throws. Nothing to help get him in rhythm.
Getsy comes from two offensive backgrounds that are well-suited to change that. He served in the RPO-heavy system under great college coach Joe Moorhead. A scheme suited for an athletic quarterback like Fields. Then he spent time in Green Bay under Matt Lafleur, learning the intricacies of the Shanahan-style outside zone offense. Combining those two philosophies would make life much easier for the Bears QB in 2022.
That said, not everybody is convinced it will be that simple.
Booger McFarland is a two-time Super Bowl champion. He played alongside some terrible quarterbacks (Chris Simms) and some great ones (Peyton Manning) in his career. He learned in that time, along with his extensive broadcasting career, that the best quarterbacks still live and die from the pocket. Athleticism is nice and can be a significant asset. Still, there will come a point where the QB has to stand behind his line and deliver the ball in a big moment. This is where Fields struggled as a rookie, and McFarland feels he has to get better there if he wants to be great.
This is a fair assessment. While Justin Fields had some tremendous throws from the pocket last season, he also struggled for long stretches. At times, there was a tendency to hold the ball, waiting for receivers to get open rather than going to his next progression. One must not forget the issue of pressure, though. The rookie was pressured on 27.3% of his dropbacks in 2021, the 5th-most in the NFL.
Just 15 of those pressures were attributed to his own decision-making. The rest were from poor protection. If Fields is to become a better pocket passer, the Bears must work to give him an offensive line capable of making that happen. Something that GM Ryan Poles seems determined to accomplish.
One thing is for sure. The 22-year old quarterback isn’t ignorant of this reality. He’s worked tirelessly to improve his pocket awareness from the moment he got to the NFL. There were signs of progress towards the end of last season. Given some time, he may achieve what McFarland hopes for.
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