Early Arrows Pointing Up for Justin Fields

Not every pass gets caught or even goes to the proper target, but Bears coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor have seen positive signs probably not visible to the untrained eyes.
Author:
Publish date:

The touchdown-to-check down mentality Bears coach Matt Nagy wants to see from quarterbacks is going to be a future lesson plan for Justin Fields.

The current plan is more basic. The Bears want Fields to develop. 

From the way the first few days of practice went, he'll need at least a little time to do it. Yet, all signs seem to indicate he can.

During rookie camp, OTAs and minicamp the objective for Fields in development was simply getting in and out of the huddle, which included getting the play called properly. It was why they had Fields sending in recordings of himself barking out the play calls during the time between minicamp and training camp.

"Now, the next part is going to be putting it together in full team situations, right?" Nagy said.

The Bears haven't gone to pads yet in training camp and won't until next week. Still, they're getting more of a rush in non-contact 11-on-11 from Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, Jeremiah Attaochu, Mario Edwards and others, than they did in the offseason work. In such cases, the Bears are watching Fields closely.

"So, when you've got guys in your lap, you're not just patting the ball back there in 7-on-7 being able to make throws that anyone can make," Nagy said.

In seven-on-seven with no rush a quarterback could take four or five seconds to throw until coaches might blow a whistle, and plays like this benefit no one because they're no realistic indicator of growth.

"What happens when it gets a little dirty in the pocket? What happens when there’s people around your knees?" Nagy said. "What happens when they disguise a coverage post-snap? And then more than anything, what happens when you make a bad play–do you learn from it?"

These are the questions Fields needs to answer.

The rookies came in for work a week ahead of veterans and on the last day Fields made several TD passes in the red zone but then threw what looked like an interception before it was dropped.

"But right away, he instantly knew, hey, I wish I would have thrown it over the top and not tried to force it in there on a laser throw," Nagy said. "So he sees that; that was right after the play. So stuff like that in team elements, is he seeing that? And is the game slowing down to him?"

Fields has Andy Dalton and Nick Foles to aid in the development and has said he loves how they've helped.

Still, it's basically on Fields whether he picks up all the information being dispensed by coaches and the other QBs.

"To me, that whole part of the development, 99% of that is on the player who is developing," offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. "How much am I taking in? How much am I really watching guys? Am I emulating the right guys? I think most of the time, the veteran guys who do it right, they get most of their job done, as far as the mentoring process just by doing it right.

"I have great confidence now, after being around Justin in this close of a setting that he is, No. 1, most important, he wants to be great. And No. 2, just as important, he's willing to do what it takes."

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven