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Bears See Fruit of Justin Fields' Endeavors

Comparing Justin Fields to Aaron Rodgers is like apples compared to oranges says center Lucas Patrick, but the Bears do like what they're seeing of their QB and are working at improving specific weaknesses

The praise continues to come pouring in from Bears teammates and coaches for quarterback Justin Fields.

Perhaps they're simply trying to counter the popular narrative that someone with the team or organization has given up on him.

Perhaps not.

Center Lucas Patrick isn't about to get carried away with comparisons between Fields and his former quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, but he sees something he likes so far.

"I mean, it's tough to compare those two guys," Patrick said. "You know, you've got, what, a 16- 17-year veteran and a second-year player. I mean, if I'm being honest, it's like comparing an apple to an orange.

"It's kind of a tough one to pigeon-hole those against each other."

Both are sweet in different ways? At least he wasn't compared to a lemon.

"Fast. He can get moving pretty quick," Patrick said. "He's a fun guy. He's young, so he likes to have the juice and the energy. He's got a live arm. I mean, there were a few throws he made today where that ball–it's like it keeps getting faster in the air.

"He's soaking everything up. Whether it's coaches, me, or stuff he's telling me, it's really good. Couldn't have a better start to a working relationship."

Patrick couldn't call Fields' skills beyond his expectations, but there's a reason.

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"I had pretty high expectations," Patrick said. "You don't get drafted as high as he does in the National Football League just by kind of having a wet noodle or slow feet.

"He's really talented. I thought he was going to be really good, and he is exceeding my expectations."

This doesn't mean Fields is a finished product and ready to ascend in Year 2 by any means. The Bears at OTAs are working extensively on Fields taking better care of the ball and also getting the ball out quicker. Both were weaknesses last year. He fumbled 12 times, fourth most in the league. He also took fourth longest to get rid of passes, according to NextGen Stats from NFL.com.

Some of the fumbles came about just from the way Fields held the ball while he was in the pocket.

"We do a ball security drill in practice," quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko said. "You (media) guys saw it today, so we're part of that ball security drill as the quarterback position, and then it's stuff we emphasize in our drills, protecting the ball in the pocket, getting it out on time. All of that stuff is just part of playing the position."

Getting the ball out quicker isn't all on reading a defense or knowing the offense. Janocko thinks offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's attack will help Fields in getting out quicker.

"We stress the timing. We stress the rhythm," Janocko said. "We try to make things easy on them where they can process and they can play quickly. They can react and they can rely on the muscle memory."

Getsy had called Fields ahead of the pace in learning the offense and developing and Janocko agreed.

"I think it's exactly as Luke said, I think he is ahead of pace," Janocko said. "I think he has really gone to work mentally in the classroom, away from the classroom, what he is doing with his iPad at night, how he studies, how he is ready and prepared the next day, how he comes and approaches everyday.

"When he comes in ready to work, you hear the stories on some of the great guys when they come into the building they're ready to go. They're prepared mentally. They're prepared with what they did the night before and then they're prepared to come in. This is what they do and this is what they want to be great at, so that's what you see from him."

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