Why Zach Miller doesn't think Justin Fields, Bears have trust issue

·4 min read

Why former Bear Miller doesn't see trust as issue with Fields, Bears originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

After throwing just 11 passes Sunday in a Week 2 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the prevailing narrative circling Justin Fields and the Bears is about the issue of trust.

Head coach Matt Eberflus is adamant that the Bears trust the second-year quarterback to throw the ball more and knows the passing game has to improve.

Still, the questions will come when a team trails by two scores for 35 minutes of game action and only has the quarterback drop back 17 times.

Former Bears tight end Zach Miller doesn't think trust is what's holding the Bears' offense back early in the season.

"I don't think it's a trust issue with that," Miller said on the latest episode of the Under Center Podcast. "It's just -- I'm not sure the reasons why you don't air it out and try and make those, you know, down 14, down two scores, and it's been that way for most of the game, you got to try to find a way to catch back up. I do know the run game was somewhat successful. So, you know, maybe they're just sticking with what's going good.

"But if you look across the league, winning teams throw the football and they throw it often. So hopefully, you know, they find plays that are successful for him and they can transition to start to make this even a more balanced offense. But I think they'll get there. I mean, it's still early in the year and I know there's a lot of hope around that, but it's just time to just make it happen."

Like many, Miller was frustrated watching the offense work Sunday in Green Bay. He lauded David Montgomery for his tough running but noted the Bears have to run more plays. NFL teams typically get around 60 or 70 offensive snaps a game. The Bears had 41 on Sunday.

That was due in large part to the passing game, which has been stuck in neutral this season.

So far this season, Fields has thrown only 28 passes and completed just 15. He is averaging 6.82 yards per pass attempt and has a QBR of 23.9. He has been hit on 42.3 percent of his dropbacks, which is the highest in the league.

On Monday, Eberflus said he expects the passing game to make incremental progress each week. He is, he claims, not being intentionally cautious with Fields' pass attempts.

"Obviously we're two games into a new offense, so you can certainly understand that hey, the rhythm and the timing of it is going to improve every single week," Eberflus said. "And we're going to get that. It's going to improve, keep improving, and it might be in small increments. It might be in big jumps. And we'll see how that goes."

Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles are facing the monumental task of turning the Bears from perennial disappointment to consistent contender.

That starts with developing Fields but has a lot of moving parts.

Miller spent time around Eberflus during training camp and likes what he sees from the man tasked with leading the Bears.

"I feel his approach to the game is perfect, especially for what we need in Chicago," Miller said of Eberflus. "I think he's an incredible human, first of all. But then, like you get into the football side of things, and I think he is good with the squad and getting those guys ready to play football. I know Sunday, for his time, his first time with us going up to Lambeau, wasn't what he wanted. I could probably tell you that without communicating with him throughout the week.

"But I look at it like -- home opener, we're getting not much production going into halftime. And that team looks like a completely different football team from first half to second half. So no, they respond well to it. I'm not there every day to understand what he's seeing, how he's communicating. But I pay attention to those things. How do we adjust at halftime, how we do certain things coming out of games? So, I know, at least I hope, that he's the guy for the long run and we can start winning football games."

Eberflus could very well be the right man to lead the Bears back to prominence. But his first task is ensuring Fields is put in the best position to make the necessary Year 2 leap. Eleven pass attempts won't get that done, especially in a game where the Bears trailed by double digits almost throughout.

Miller and everyone else knows Fields is the key to turning things around quickly in Chicago.

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