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No Expanding Justin Fields' Role in Offense

Justin Fields' role as a spot contributor on offense is one the Bears seem content with for now, and they don't see a need to explain why he should continue taking a play at a time.

Justin Fields seems ready for a bigger role.

In fact, Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has felt this way for a while about the team's rookie quarterback.

Yet, the role for Fields remains a spot player—or at least it seems this way going into Sunday's game at home against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Fields had only five plays but scored a touchdown and completed a key pass in what was close to a scoring drive, until Andy Dalton had a pass intercepted in the end zone off a deflection.

"I think from the outside looking at it, he looked like he belonged," Lazor said. "He looked like he could be successful. Nothing was too big for him, which we didn't think it would be. It looked like he had fun."

Lazor went so far as to say this was a suspicion he has held for a while.

"I would have said after the preseason that he's moving quickly and ready for whatever's thrown at him," Lazor said. "So I don't think anything's changed."

And thus Lazor had fallen into the trap. If Fields is ready for whatever is thrown at him, then it stands to reason coach Matt Nagy should get him in several plays in a row or a series or even a bigger role.

"I think Matt has probably addressed what his philosophy is on the quarterback position," Lazor said. "I don't think that's any different. I don't think there's any reason for me to answer that."

There was, though. Nagy really hadn't answered it, either. 

Nagy's stance is Fields will continue in his same role as a spot player, but he didn't really explain why Fields doesn't deserve an expanded role.

The players themselves were fairly happy with the way the Fields plays worked.

"He was very composed," wide receiver Allen Robinson said of Fields. "But again, he's kind of been like that. I wasn't too surprised. He's played in a lot of big games. He was at Ohio State, went to a couple final fours, if you will, the (football) tournament. He's played in some big games.

"I didn't expect him to be taken aback by that atmosphere."

It's debatable whether the offense stuttered somewhat when Fields came into the game. The first time a hiccup occurred.

Fields completed his first throw to Marquise Goodwin for 9 yards and then came right out, but with the ball at the 3-yard line the offense seemed to take too long setting up for the next play and then tight end Cole Kmet false-started, resulting in third-and-6 instead of third-and-1. Then Dalton threw a pass deflected for an interception in the end zone.

"Yeah, I didn't think it affected my rhythm at all," Dalton said. "And I was able to go right back in there and continue out there."

If Lazor didn't want to reveal the thinking behind why Fields is playing just five plays a game after being deemed good to go, at least he addressed how they decide when those moments are and when they aren't available.

"I think it is the same as any time you game plan," Lazor said. "You have to balance three things. What are the best things we do? What are the weaknesses of the opponent and then what are our matchups–personnel? 

"And some programs, some teams will rely more on, ‘Hey, let’s change what we do to take care of their weaknesses.’ Some places are more, ‘Hey, we do what we do and we do it really well.’ Using Justin’s snaps kind of fall in that category."

For Lazor, having two quarterbacks to count on now is better than none even if one of them doesn't play very much.

"I think in the reality in the NFL, there are only so many quarterbacks that are good enough to win," Lazor said. "Probably not 32.

"So if you really have two on your team that can do that, you're fortunate."

Often, as the old NFL saying goes, when you've got two quarterbacks you have none. Not many teams have succeeded playing two quarterbacks, although the 49ers did well with it Sunday when rookie Trey Lance came into the game and they beat the Lions 41-33.

"Most of the time when people try to do that it's just hard," Lazor said. "It's hard to have two that are really good enough."

With Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles as the third, they think they have more.

"I'd like to think we have three," Lazor said.

They've only got one whose playing time spans for full series.

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