Bears' Ryan Poles shares moment he got excited about Justin Fields

Poles shares moment he got excited about Justin Fields originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Ryan Poles said it point blank. He plans on entering the 2023 season with Justin Fields as the Bears starting quarterback. Of course there’s the caveat that if Poles is “absolutely blown away” by one of the incoming rookies the Bears could draft a QB with the No. 1 overall pick, but he maintained that the Bears like what they saw from Fields and they’re excited to see where he goes next.

“He showed ability to be impactful with his legs,” Poles said. “There’s flashes with his arm. Now if we can put that together, I think we have something really good.”

Fields was obviously one of the most exciting playmakers in the NFL this year. He set the NFL’s single-game rushing record for a QB in Week 9 when he took off for 178 yards on the ground. He broke the Bears’ record for longest rushing TD by a QB with a 61-yarder, then topped it the very next week with a 67-yarder. Fields became the first QB in NFL history to have three career 50-yard rushing touchdowns, and he did it in a month. When it was all said and done, Fields was just 64 yards away from breaking Lamar Jackson’s single-season rushing record.

The Fields rushing explosion started in Week 6 when he carried the ball 12 times for 88 yards on Thursday Night Football. The Bears only scored seven points that game, but they knew they were onto something. They had a mini-bye after that game, since they didn’t play again until Monday Night Football the following week. Luke Getsy reshaped the offense around Fields’ rushing ability and things took off from there. Fields looked unstoppable as a rusher and the Bears started putting up big points. Over the five games following the Thursday Night Football revelation the Bears averaged 29.6 points per game. That was also the time that Poles really started getting excited for Fields' future. Then Fields started making more big plays with his arm to hammer things home.

“You think of plays like the shot to Mooney, the shot to Pettis in the corner of the end zone — I think that was Washington,” Poles said. “Those deep ball throws that we know he can make. Now it's just closing the gap and being consistent with it.”

Poles believes Fields has the makeup to close that gap, too. Over the course of the year he saw Fields’ resiliency firsthand. He saw how much ownership Fields took in the offense and the team, and how much Fields is dedicated to improving his game.

“The amount of time that he put in with the coaches to continue to get better, the guy is hungry to be successful in this league.”

Fields is not a finished product, and no one in Halas Hall denies it. Fields himself is open about needing to improve as a passer, as are all of his coaches. On Tuesday Poles explained where he wants to see Fields grow in 2023.

“As a passer, just for things to slow down mentally, and then be able to react and anticipate quicker,” Poles said.

Poles also understands that Fields will improve when the pieces around him improve. He needs better protection and better playmakers, and that’s on Poles.

“The beautiful thing about football is you can never point at one person and say, 'It's his fault.' No, it's a collective where everything's gotta work together. I know and we know if we continue to grow this football team and bring in a lot of good players, that everyone's going to get better collectively.”

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