The Chicago Bears are struggling in the passing game and it doesn’t all fall on Justin Fields. They don’t have an identity as an offense. To make matters worse, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has tried to mold Fields into something he isn’t — a pocket passer.
Last season, Fields rushed for 1,143 yards and 10 touchdowns on 160 attempts in 15 starts. After two games this season, Fields has 62 total rushing yards and one touchdown on 13 attempts.
So, what’s changed?
This offseason, the Bears’ coaching staff and players alike said that Fields “looks like a different quarterback” and was “decisive” while throwing the football in camp. Those were all talking points, pointing fans in the direction of making them believe he was taking strides to take that big leap in Year 3. That hasn’t been close to the case through two games.
Stats aside, Fields has struggled to hit open targets, has held on to the ball too long and has been gun-shy. When you take half of a player’s abilities away, he’s going to be gun-shy. Those issues have slowed down the offense considerably. Not only is the offense off to a rough start, but Fields’ growth has the potential of being stunted if something doesn’t change quickly.
So, how does this get fixed this season?
Getsy needs to rip his current game plan up and start from scratch. Fields is an athlete and needs plays called to his strengths, not his weaknesses. He is at his strengths in RPOs, play-actions and when he is out moving on the perimeter, giving him the ability to take off when the play breaks down. He is at his weakest when he is sitting in the pocket waiting for plays to develop. With Fields being gun-shy, he needs to gain confidence back – that can easily be done by giving the go-ahead to use his legs more in the passing game.
Last season, when defenses worried about Fields’ ability to run, that opened up the passing game. Now that they have receiver DJ Moore, who can be used better when defenses are fearing the run. In addition to opening up the passing game with Fields’ legs, it also opens up the rushing game for their running backs. That will open up the entire offense.
Getsy has called plays correctly for Fields before. Instead of waiting for plays to develop in the pocket, allow Fields to make plays happen. That’s what Brian Daboll did with Josh Allen in Buffalo and what Philadelphia currently does with Jalen Hurts.
The answers to the current problems are there, and it’s up to Getsy to solve them. Before it’s too late.