There probably will be no epiphany for quarterback Justin Fields and the Bears offense, at least this year anyway
At least this is how Bears coach Matt Eberflus views the offense taking root.
There is no substitute for repetitions, whether it's on the practice field or during the workouts Fields during minicamp said he was planning to conduct with receivers like Darnell Mooney at a double secret location. Shortcuts don't work when timing is the issue, and it might even take a full year before the Bears feel at ease in this new offense.
"I really believe that when you are working with a receiving corps, tight end corps or running back corps in the receiving game, I just feel that you've got to work hand-in-hand," Eberflus said. "It's almost like what each other thinks, because a lot of these things are option routes and reading off a coverage if I'm (a receiver) breaking in or breaking out, and they have to be able to feel that.
"They've got to know each other really well. It's time on task."
Eberflus has seen it beginning to take hold, even if work needs to go on and on.
"That's where I feel like Justin is with his receivers, is his keeping time on task and you can see him and Mooney start to gel, him and Pringle start to gel, him and EQ (Equanimeous St. Brown) starting to gel.
"So it's a process as we go, but we are in that process right now and some days it looks really good and some days we know we've got to get work done."
Getting Velus Jones involved can be huge, as well. Rookie receivers generally don't perform as well as second- or third-year receivers.
"I had a good amount of balls thrown my way," Jones said. "That's just boosted my confidence level in this offense as I continue to work on that. That's a good feeling."
The Packers installed a similar offense with Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy as quarterbacks coach in 2019 and it took into the second month of the season before Aaron Rodgers started to look as efficient as he had been in the old Mike McCarthy offense prior to 2018. Rodgers had a 92.8 passer efficiency rating six games into the 2019 season -- a rating worse than Mitchell Trubisky's the previous season. He had only eight TD passes for those six games and then had single games with five, four and three TD passes.
Still, his 95.4 passer rating for that first year was plagued with inconsistencies such as passer ratings of 78.2, 68.3 and 72.0 in the final three games against his divisional rivals, and a 75.8 against San Francisco.
Essentially, it took into 2020 before Rodgers looked completely comfortable within the offense and the receivers fitted him well.
No one has called the passing offense itself an easy one for receivers to pick up and then apply with Fields.
However, Fields said it could be worse, and the fact Getsy has thrown the (play)book at them, so to speak, doesn't hurt.
"With the concepts that we have, with the players we have, I think everybody's catching on pretty quick," Fields said. "Like I said, they're throwing a lot at us right now.
"So, as long as we can manage to do everything right, or do most of everything right and not make the same mistake again, I think we'll be just fine when that time comes around."