Chicago Bears training camp is less than a month away, which means it’s time to start looking ahead at the roster the team is bringing to Lake Forest.
It starts at the most important position: Quarterback, where quarterback Justin Fields has been the focal point this offseason. Aside from Fields, there were some big changes in the quarterback room, where Andy Dalton and Nick Foles are out and Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman are in.
This new regime under general manager Ryan Poles has been criticized for its handling of Fields this offseason, especially when it comes to the lack of unproven weapons and the state of the offensive line. But they also brought in new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy to put Fields in a position to succeed.
Let’s take a look at the quarterbacks heading into training camp:
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The handling of then-rookie Justin Fields last season was questionable at best and negligent at worst. Fields is coming off a rough rookie season that resulted in the firings of Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy, an indication this organization has Fields’ potential success in mind. Now, despite the criticisms about his supporting cast and offensive line, it’s hard to argue against the notion that Fields is in a better position in Year 2 under Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus.
That starts with new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who has built this entire offense around Fields. Unlike the Nagy regime, we’re going to see the Bears utilize Fields’ strengths, including his mobility and deep ball, while also putting him in a position to succeed, through utilizing play action and establishing a run-heavy scheme. All eyes will be on Fields’ development this season, where him taking a big step forward will feel like a winning season.
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The Bears backup quarterback situation got worse this offseason following the departure of Andy Dalton in free agency. Instead, general manager Ryan Poles brought in Trevor Siemian to serve as Fields’ backup, where the indication was that Poles believes Siemian is a better fit in this offense than Nick Foles, who was released earlier this offseason.
Siemian, a seventh-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in 2015, saw starting time from 2016-17. But since his departure from Denver, he’s served mostly in reserve role during stints with the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints. The hope is we won’t see much — or any — of Siemian during the regular season. But with the unpredictability of the NFL, the backup quarterback is always one play away. And Chicago is banking on Siemian being a seamless potential transition.
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Last season, the Bears had the best third-string quarterback in the league with Foles. Now, they have one of the NFL’s most turnover-prone quarterbacks in Nathan Peterman waiting in the wings as the third-string QB. Peterman spent his first two seasons with the Bills from 2017-18, where he made four starts. He opened the 2018 season as Buffalo’s starting quarterback before being replaced by first-round rookie Josh Allen, after Peterman posted a 0.0 quarterback rating and was later released.
Peterman spent the last few years with the Las Vegas Raiders, where he’s served as a backup to Derek Carr. He briefly faced the Bears last season in place of Carr, where he had two rushes for two yards. Unlike last year — and Foles’ high salary cap hit — the Bears aren’t likely to carry three quarterbacks on the roster. Peterman will likely be shelved on the practice squad in an in-case-of-emergency role.
Big question: Will Justin Fields take a step forward in his second season?
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
No one’s expecting this Bears team to be contenders in 2022. But the season will still be considered a success if Fields takes a step forward in his development. While there’s been plenty of criticism about how Chicago has handled Fields this offseason — when it comes to a lack of proven weapons and the offensive line — there’s still reason to believe he will improve.
The Bears are implementing a new offense under Getsy, one that’s centered around Fields’ skillset. Getsy understands the importance of building the offense around the quarterback first, where we’re expected to get plenty of Fields on the move, utilizing play action and letting him throw it deep. While Fields might not be primed for his breakout season yet, the pieces are in place for him to take a step forward in his development.
Training camp position previews
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
We’re unveiling our Bears 2022 training camp position previews, where we’re breaking down every player by position and examining the biggest question facing the group.
Running back (coming 7/4/22)
Wide receiver (coming 7/6/22)
Tight end (coming 7/8/22)
Offensive line (coming 7/10/22)
Interior defensive line (coming 7/12/22)
Edge rusher (coming 7/14/22)
Special teams (7/22/22)