This is the Patrick Mahomes and Justin Fields comparison game. They shouldn't go there.
No one can expect Fields to be comparable to Mahomes, who was an MVP his second year, a Super Bowl MVP, quarterback in consecutive Super Bowls.
Fields needs to develop at his own speed and to his own abilities. Yet, Bears coach Matt Nagy during OTAs was willing to talk about the plan he's using with Fields and the plan they used with Patrick Mahomes. And during minicamp he was willing to take it a step beyond. He made the plunge into actually comparing where the two were at in development during veteran minicamp.
Considering he coached both, there are few people more qualified to answer such questions.
So where is Fields compared with Mahomes at this point?
"I would say with Patrick at this point of time in vet minicamp to where Justin is is great," Nagy said. "Their personalities, football-wise, football IQ, all of that stuff is very similar on that side.
"Their actual personalities are a little bit different but that's the beauty of life. We all have different personalities."
It sounds like so much wishful thinking to believe both were at similar points in this stage of their development.
"And I just think that right now for Justin, the biggest thing is to make sure that he's continuing to just really listen and just get better, and then probably just keep asking the right questions, and I think he's doing that more and more as he feels comfortable," Nagy said.
To even suggest Fields could be anywhere close to Mahomes after until he has even started a game is folly. And then there's what Mahomes has done.
His 108.7 passer rating and 113.8 passer rating in his first year as starter are phenomenal numbers. His 8.8 yards per attempt in 2018 and 8.4 for his career are scary. He dropped his interception percentage from 2.1% in his first year starting to 1.0 the last two years.
And there's the 38-8 Mahomes record as Chiefs starter.
Fields can't be compared to any of this yet, but Nagy saw some other places were Fields could be in a similar spot.
They both had plenty of college snaps coming into the NFL.
"I don't think there's any difference there," Nagy said. "With Patrick coming out, there were some people that were concerned about the division he played in and some of the colleges and all the drop-eight (coverage) that he saw in the scrambling and that sort of thing, and some of the history of those quarterbacks from those teams.
"No, I think those two guys, experience-wise, the one thing that Justin has is that he's played in some big-time games and had big-time moments."
Fields had a national title game, the national semifinals twice, Big Ten title games and Fields played in one Russell Athletic Bowl but no other postseason games.
Both played in 32 college games, but the offense the Red Raiders ran called on Fields to throw 1,349 passes in his games while Fields only had to throw 618 passes.
Justin Fields-Patrick Mahomes College Stats
|QB||College Games||Passes||Completions||Yards||TDs||INT||Yards Per Attempt|
So who had the better experience coming through college?
It's tough to say, but Nagy thinks he's seeing in Fields the face of a winner regardless.
"That's the one thing that I'm seeing right now from him that is really neat is that whether it's in practice, if there’s a bad play, if a play has to be called two or three times in the huddle, he doesn't get flustered," Nagy said. "He's very, very stoic. I was telling one of the coaches walking out today that I think he'd be a pretty good poker player because he's pretty straight-faced, and that's good. That's a good thing."
It was evident during minicamp when Fields threw an interception to Christian Jones in the red zone and Nagy pulled him aside.
Fields didn't seem flustered and explained why he did it. He then came back with TD passes in similar drills to Cole Kmet and Ryan Nall.
Mahomes may have a different personality type, but considering he never seems flustered even when facing the heaviest pass rush—like in the Super Bowl—it's a positive for Fields when the Bears also view him as someone who doesn't flinch.