Trent Dilfer suggests Bears should air out the ball with Fields

Trent Dilfer suggests Bears should air out the ball more originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Ex-NFL quarterback and football savant, Trent Dilfer, brought up a point Bears outsiders and pundits might start to ponder about the broader outlook of the team's offense.

Should the Bears try throwing the ball more with Justin Fields?

This question was answered with a resounding "yes" at the beginning of the season. Through the first few weeks, Fields was setting record-low numbers for pass attempts and completions.

The volume increased, but since Luke Getsy and Fields have seen abundant success on the ground over the past month, they haven't looked back. Neither have Bears fans.

Now, Dilfer is the first to question the offensive model.

“It leads me to what I think the bigger conversation is – when do you go away from the 20 to 26 throws a game to the 30 to 36 throws a game?” Dilfer asked 670 the Score.

“When do you start lowering the volume of runs – they’re an unbelievable run team, and they’ve done a really nice job, so some are going to say, ‘What are you talking about, Trent? Look, we’re making historic rushing numbers, 30 points a game.’ I get all that. I totally get all that. But if you’re trying to win a Super Bowl next year or the year after, at some point, we need to add 100 to 150 throws to Justin’s season this year, so that he can have more learning moments."

As Dilfer mentioned, the run game is undoubtedly working for the Bears.

They have the most rushing yards of any team so far this season behind the most attempts and frequency of any team. Their efforts have yielded 31 points per game in the last month, making them a successful, productive offense.

As such, the offense is mainly run through Fields. Whether it be on the ground or through the air, Fields is participating in every play. He's on pace to defeat Lamar Jackson's single-season rushing record.

This is where cost becomes a factor in the Bears' current offensive system.

In every post-game press conference, at least one reporter will ask Fields about his physical toll. Oftentimes, he's honest about how much his body hurts from the game.

"I'm hurting pretty bad," Fields said after Sunday's game. "Not really from hits, but my legs are kinda sore. Other than my legs being sore and, of course, my ear, I'm fine."

Fields not only leads the league as the most sacked quarterback this season, but he takes a noticeable number of hits on the run too. He's a young quarterback, but this could come back to bite him if he and the Bears aren't cautious.

What's more, the Bears have also yet to face some of the better rushing defenses in the league. The Washington Commanders are the only team who ranks above average in opponent rushing yards per attempt. The rest are below the league's average.

They have yet to meet some of the more vicious rushing defenses in the league, but soon they will. Upcoming they face the Atlanta Falcons (4.4 yards per rush, 11th) and the New York Jets (4.0 yards per rushing attempt, 5th).

RELATED: Why Bears' offense has struggled to finish game-winning drives

There's certainly a concern with their use of the rushing attack as a crutch.

Let's speak candidly. The NFL's best teams are the ones that have higher passing frequency, or a more balanced, unpredictable offense.

Take the league's top three teams – the Philadelphia Eagles (8-1), Minnesota Vikings (8-1) and Kansas City Chiefs (7-2).

They all rank in the top ten or higher in passing attempts, passing yards and passing touchdowns per game. The only exception is the Eagles' passing attempts (25th), yet they still produce heavy-volume numbers through the air.

Can a predominantly rushing offense take a team far in today's NFL?

That remains a question the Bears will have to ask themselves at some point down the line. Presently, it's all fun and games. The Bears are playing competitively amidst a full-scale rebuild. Soon enough, the fun will end on the ground, and they'll be forced to compete through the air.

According to Dilfer, they should start preparing Fields for the future before it's too late.

"We want to see him develop as a thrower knowing that the only way you can win a Super Bowl is to throw your team into the end zone, throw your team first downs, throw your way in two-minute drills, to throw your team into a situation to win the game when everything is on the line," Dilfer said.

"I think the conversation needs to at least start, ‘OK, we’re still trying to win, we’re still going to run the ball, we’re still going to protect our offensive line, but we need to see six to eight more (throws) next week. Maybe in three weeks, it’s 10 to 12 more. But we got to see him throw the football more so he has more learning lessons throwing it.’”

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