Justin Fields struggled quite a bit as a rookie. That is no longer any sort of revelation. He threw seven touchdowns and ten interceptions, completing less than 60% of his passes. It is why plenty of people in the media aren’t optimistic about his chances to improve this season for the Chicago Bears. They fail to miss the undeniable fact that Fields was already showing progress last season before his year prematurely ended due to injuries.
Through his first five starts, he threw for 746 yards, two touchdowns, and five interceptions for a 64.8 pass rating. Over the next five starts, he managed 1,054 yards, five touchdowns, four interceptions, and a much more respectable 84.0 pass rating. So the numbers reflect clear improvement.
So does the tape.
Respected NFL film analyst Alex Rollins did a fantastic breakdown of Fields’ rookie year on YouTube. He soon discovered that the quarterback’s biggest flaw was his bad tendency to predetermine where he would throw the ball pre-snap rather than take what the defense gives him post-snap. This is what led to six of his ten interceptions. However, it became clear towards the end of the season that Fields was fixing the issue.
Justin Fields should be much better on this front in 2022.
There are a few reasons why. For one, he’s more experienced. That always helps. Another factor in that is the work he is getting in practice. Word is the Bears are giving him almost every rep with the first, second, and third teams. Coaches aren’t wasting their time spreading them out to backups. Their goal is to give Fields every opportunity to master the offense and build chemistry with his receivers, tight ends, and running backs. An approach that is the complete opposite of what happened last year.
Lastly is the offense itself. Former head coach Matt Nagy came under fire frequently for his system lacking flexibility when it came to helping the quarterback. That figures to change under new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. He’s promised to craft the scheme around what Justin Fields does best and likely will give him more freedom at the line of scrimmage. If that proves accurate, the improvement should be evident almost immediately.
At that point, it comes down to how good or bad the talent around the quarterback is.
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