So Far So Good for Justin Fields

From what little Bears coaches can derive in Zoom meetings, quarterback Justin Fields has had a positive start to his career in Chicago.
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A new quarterback and QB coach relationship is being established with the Bears.

Quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator John DeFilippo already has noted some aspects of the game he wants first-round quarterback Justin Fields to focus on at this week's minicamp and in all his early work.

It's not complicated, and DeFilippo didn't want to share all the specific short-term goals he set with Fields.

"But I'll tell you one of them was to have command of the huddle," DeFilippo said Wednesday when Bears assistant coaches met with media via Zoom. "Show the other 10 guys in that huddle that you have some command and you've been working your butt off on the plays, knowing the cadence, knowing where to go with the football.

"It's not gonna be a very in-depth installation in terms of the amount of plays, amount of formations, shifts and motions and that sort of thing, but I want to see him, those building blocks of becoming a starting quarterback in the league and you start at the lowest of lows. You start with the cadence, you start with the huddle, you start with knowing your first wide vision, which is everything that you have before you get the ball in your hand — play clock, are we lined up correctly, what's the cadence, is there a kill with the play. So the mechanics of playing quarterback, the mechanics of the first step of knowing our offense is what we're trying to build upon for when the veteran players come back."

DeFilippo offered up nothing new in terms of how long it could take before the rookie quarterback is ready to play, but then again he's only worked so far with Fields on a virtual stage. This weekend they'll work together for the first time on a field.

"Like coach (Matt Nagy) said, I think we'll all know when it's Justin's time to go win a football game," DeFilippo said. "I'm a big believer in that, as well. Obviously, we'll know a lot more about Justin after this weekend in terms of where he's at mentally and the way he processes and thinks and those things.

"It's hard to tell over Zoom until you really get your hands on a player. I think we'll know a lot more after this weekend in terms of where he's at from a mentally processing standpoint."

DeFilippo's impressions of Fields from before the draft while playing for coach Ryan Day at Ohio State were like those of many people.

"I think you saw growth with him in the type of pass concepts they were throwing," DeFilippo said. "Coach Day there does a great job, and they throw a bunch of NFL pass concepts.

"I just thought you saw his timing and accuracy and pocket awareness grow as the season went along as well. Obviously there's room to grow in all facets, but those are the things that I saw."

From the Zoom meetings, DeFilippo believes the a rapport has been established and it had to start with Fields getting used to the way the meetings are conducted.

"There's dialogue back and forth," DeFilippo said. "I call it Charlie Brown's Teacher Syndrome. You don't want to be the guy at the front of the room that's just, 'Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.' They tune you out after a while.

"So there needs to be that dialogue there in understanding how quarterback meetings are run in the National Football League, and I think he's done a fantastic job of adapting to that and adapting to our coaching style."

DeFilippo isn't the only assistant excited to see Fields at practice. Wide receivers coach Mike Furrey suggested speed receivers Damiere Byrd, Marquise Goodwin and Darnell Mooney will like it.

"You know with that young man's arm, he's going to be able to outthrow them and that they're going to have to be able to run," Furrey said. "And I think that's something that's when you go back and watch his college film how many times he's thrown that ball, deep balls on post routes and guys have had to go get it and chase it down.

"In this league you get some guys that just don't have that arm strength to be able to outthrow fast guys and so you can't really display your full potential in regards to your speed and outrunning guys. And I think that's going to be something that Darnell Mooney and Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd are going to be really be excited about in regards to they're going to have to run because that young man is going to be able to outthrow their speed."

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