Column: As others look at the big picture with Justin Fields, Chicago Bears OC Luke Getsy is focused on ‘getting better’

While there’s ample debate about what quarterback Justin Fields can prove over the final seven games of the Chicago Bears season, that chatter isn’t taking place inside the walls of Halas Hall.

Yes, coach Matt Eberflus said Wednesday that seven weeks “is enough time to show consistency,” but Fields and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy are existing only in the here and now — preparing for Sunday’s game at Ford Field against the first-place Detroit Lions.

Just as Fields talked Wednesday about a singular focus, Getsy spoke Thursday of that same approach, giving a measured assessment of the situation as Fields returns after missing four games with a dislocated right thumb.

The focus on Fields and the remaining slate is understandable, as the Bears will have to choose a path at the end of the season: roll into 2024 with Fields or move on and draft a quarterback in the first round. It seems rather unlikely general manager Ryan Poles would keep Fields and grab a quarterback at the top of the draft.

Generally teams have a three-year timeline with drafted quarterbacks, and that’s where Fields is, nearing the end of Year 3 after the Bears picked him in the first round in 2021. Does it make the process premature at times? Maybe. Is it tied to the fifth-year option in the contracts of first-round picks? You bet.

But if the front office is looking at it that way, that doesn’t mean the coaches are viewing the situation through the same lens.

“Maybe it’s fair for them to have to think that way,” Getsy said. “But from our perspective, it’s about us getting better as a unit each and every day, and Justin’s a big part of us getting better each and every day. If he grows and gets better, then we’re going to grow and get better.”

Fields said some healing remains but the thumb is stable. Obviously ball security is a huge issue. The Bears are 3-0 when they don’t commit a turnover.

The coaching staff still is sorting through some issues. Is Fields fully comfortable taking snaps under center? Maybe it’s not a huge deal as the Bears tend to lean on shotgun alignments, but it’s something to consider.

“That’s part of the progression of the week, trying to figure that out,” Getsy said. “What he’s feeling great about. Haven’t narrowed that down just exactly yet. But (we) feel good about (him) being able to do a lot of different things so far and he’s handled the week pretty good.”

Fields was close to returning for the Week 10 win over the Carolina Panthers but didn’t receive medical clearance. The Bears believe he has been mentally locked in the entire time and will have a seamless transition back into the lineup.

He has to see if he can harness the high-level play he showed in Week 5 at Washington — and for three quarters the week before that against the Denver Broncos. Those stand as the highlights of his season to this point.

Fields was 43 of 64 in those two games with 617 passing yards, eight touchdowns and only one interception plus one lost fumble. The passing game was diversified and potent.

What’s unsettling is the ups and downs that come with his game. Before he was injured in the Oct. 15 loss to the Minnesota Vikings — one week after the victory over the Commanders — he was on the field for seven series. The offense produced more than 15 yards in only two of them.

So trying to find a pathway to more regular high-level play is what Eberflus, Getsy and ultimately Fields are seeking.

“It always starts with taking care of the football,” Getsy said when asked what consistency would look like to him. “That’s the starting point for anybody on offense, specifically the quarterback. It’s about getting better and progressing each and every week.

“There were really cool parts of this season when we saw that from him. And unfortunately, the injury comes. Let’s get back on track with that and continue to grow together.”

The offensive line will be perhaps at its healthiest all season. Nate Davis is expected back after missing four games with a high ankle sprain. He’ll slot in at right guard with Teven Jenkins switching to left guard. Jenkins started at left guard against the Vikings and in the preseason opener, but those are his only starts there.

“It’s never easy anytime anybody has to move any position,” Getsy said. “But to speak to Teven, the ability to come in and be a tackle and then be a guard on both sides — he’s played tackle on both sides, he’s played guard on both sides — that speaks to the type of player he is and the capability that he has.”

The Bears have rushed for 116 or more yards in eight of 10 games, and that continues to be an important factor when the offense performs well. The Lions enter with the league’s third-ranked run defense (79.1 yards per game) and have surrendered 100 or more yards only once, when the Baltimore Ravens ran for 146 en route to a 38-6 victory in Week 8.

Running back Khalil Herbert is a possibility to return from injured reserve. If so, he would give Getsy and the offense another option with D’Onta Foreman running well.

“That’s a fortunate position to be in, to be able to have a few guys that can go do that and kind of display our play style,” Getsy said “Khalil was playing really well. He was crushing it that night (at Washington). We’re excited to get him back on the field.”