Why Justin Fields being frustrated not among Bears' offensive worries

·5 min read

Bears don't see Fields being frustrated with offensive game plan originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Bears left Lambeau Field with their tail between their legs following a 27-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers that saw quarterback Justin Fields throw the ball just 11 times. The Bears' game plan in Green Bay called for more pass plays than the box score indicates, but, in the end, Fields only let it rip 11 times in a game the Packers controlled throughout.

Someone with Fields' talent undoubtedly would like to cut it loose more than 11 times, especially in a game against a rival that has owned the Bears of late. But the Bears don't have to worry about their young quarterback being frustrated with his usage.

"No. I mean, there were actually quite a few plays called that were pass plays, there were more plays called that were pass plays," quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko said Thursday. "The thing about Justin that's great is he's locked into the game all the time. Are there frustrations in the game? Yeah, there should be. Any competitor will get frustrated at times if something doesn't go right. Tom Brady is paying for a lot of tablets right now, and he's the greatest ever. So, you want there to be things at times that irritate you. Competitors get irritated when things don't go right.

"But as far as the number of pass plays we ran, like I said and I think Luke [Getsy] said as well, there were a bunch more pass plays called. Certain things in the game dictate you do something. The touchdown was a pass play early in the game and Justin made a play with his legs. As far as that's concerned, I don't think that's really a factor."

Fields was honest about his desire to throw the ball more after the loss. That's only natural for a quarterback in a critical second season. But the second-year quarterback said he doesn't view the low number of pass attempts as a sign the Bears don't have confidence in his ability to win with his arm.

He understands that certain matchups will call for the Bears to run the ball more, while Getsy will put it on him to win other games.

"Selflessness," Fields said when asked how he deals with only throwing 11 times in a loss. "Knowing that if these are the plays that he thinks are going to win us the game, then I'm all with it. Like I said about Darnell [Mooney] on Sunday, if he caught zero passes and won the game, he wouldn't have any problem. If I threw zero passes and we won the game, I wouldn't have any problems. Our goal as a team, as an offense is to win games. Nobody's looking at how many passes did I have, how many yards did I have. We're just all trying to win the game."

While the Bears don't have to worry about QB1 being frustrated with the game plan, the rest of the passing attack needs some serious improvements.

Mooney has only caught two passes this season for a total of 4 yards, while tight end Cole Kmet has yet to catch a pass.
 
Head coach Matt Eberflus said he is confident the offensive staff can make the necessary adjustments to get the aerial attack clicking. That starts with getting Mooney and Kmet, the Bears' top two pass-catching weapons, more involved in the attack.
 
"So, in the passing game, let's highlight our skill," Eberflus said. "Let's feed the guys that have skill that can take a short throw and turn it into a big gain, that can go downtown. And we have a good deep ball thrower so we should utilize that too. And we're going to look at all aspects of that. Like I said, we got great coaches. They are going to work tirelessly to get that done this week."
 
This is a critical season for Fields' development. The young signal-caller admitted that limited passing attempts could potentially hamper his growth as an NFL quarterback. But Getsy, Janocko, and the Bears' offensive staff have his full trust. That trust likely is part of the reason Fields left Green Bay frustrated with the loss but not his usage or the play-calling.
 
"At the end of the day these guys have been in the league for I don't know how long," Fields said. "They know what they're doing. None of it's going to work if I don't trust it, if the players, ourselves, if we don't trust the coaches. We trust the coaches. They know what they're doing. We just go out there and play."
 
Fields' development remains the focal point of the Bears' 2022 season. After two weeks, he has thrown only 28 passes. Part of that is due to the weather in Week 1. The Bears' run-heavy game plan and the Packers' defensive approach played a significant role in Week 2. 
 
Sunday's game against the Houston Texans presents an ideal time for the Bears to let Fields chuck it around a bit more. The Texans are giving up 270.5 passing yards per game through two weeks. Expect the Bears to lean on David Montgomery early and then get the play-action passing game going, taking their frustrations out on a defense that doesn't have the difference-makers the 49ers or Packers do on defense.
 
If there's any talk of frustration after Sunday's game at Soldier Field, the troubleshooting of the passing game didn't go according to plan.

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