Justin Fields Made a Rapid Adjustment Before

In 2019 Justin Fields quickly took over as the Ohio State quarterback and made it work immediately, so now he must make another rapid adjustment.
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It was Aug. 31 in 2019 when Justin Fields took the field for the first time in an Ohio State uniform after transferring from Georgia and being named their starter.

Would he need an adjustment period to learning the offense and also would he need a while to fit into the culture of the program? After all, going from Georgia and the SEC to Ohio State and the Big Ten is a bit of a football culture shock.

Sixteen touchdown passes without an interception in his first five games, and a season when he threw 40 touchdown passes to only one interception before two interceptions in the national semifinal loss to Clemson kind of answered the questions.

Fields faces the same type of drastic change now as he learns to take over leadership of the Bears offense. If it goes the same way it did at Ohio State, the Bears can be even more elated with their first-round draft pick than they already appear to be.

"Of course I didn't have personal relationships with my teammates there," Fields said about Ohio State. "So what I pretty much did there was show them how much I wanted to win and how much I wanted to be there.

"I did that by working hard in workouts and weight training and coming in first in sprint drills and stuff like that. As time went along I just started building personal relationships from guys who were freshmen, guys who were seniors and guys who were walk-ons. I think it's very important to get to know your teammates and kind of build those personal relationships with them, so that way you can connect on the highest level."

Ohio State coach Ryan Day sees rapid acceptance of a young leader coming for the Bears.

"He has a quiet confidence that kid of permeates around the locker room," Day said. "You can hear it, you can see it. And I think when you get on the field, the guys believe in him because he can do so much.

"But also lives his life the right way. All season, it was him and his dog (Uno) in his apartment and he was at the Woody Hayes Center. That was it. So I think he demands the respect of the team because of who he is, his character, his talent level, what he does on the field and also how he carries himself. Everyone has their own leadership style. He can get after you if need be, but he can also put his arm around you and connect with you that way, kind of pull guys with you. He'll do the same thing there. It doesn't just happen overnight. You have to get the respect of the locker room first. And that's first on his mind." 

 Then comes getting the offense down. Day is fairly familiar with what the Bears do offensively and doesn't see it as a problem for his program's former leader.

"I think it fits really well," Day said. "Matt comes from a great background, coming over from the Chiefs and what they do. I think they're really creative. Certainly study their film a lot and what they do.

"I think they're going to be able to accentuate what Justin does well and there's a lot that goes with it. That's what's great about that style of offense. It can go a lot of different ways. There's a lot of flexibility in there. Really fired up to see what that looks like."

Fields comes across as calm and collected, anyway, so Day doubts the new Bears quarterback will get flustered or worry if it doesn't happen immediately.

"Oh, I think he'll be great," Day said. "The goal is to have a long career in the NFL and to grow and develop and build. It isn't to start to, 'I've gotta be there Day 1 and I've gotta get all this.' There has to be a long-term vision on this.

"I know that he understands that. He's played a year and a half or maybe a little bit more of college football and that's it. So, the ceiling's really, really high. I'm sure that's what everybody in the city of Chicago is fired up about. That's what the Bears' organization recognized."

Suggestions he can step in and be a player immediately or even be the starter at some point this season can generate plenty of pressure. Fields displays this quiet confidence Day described when discussing how he'll handle it.

"I don't think there's pressure at all on me because I expect myself to be a franchise quarterback," Fields said. "There is really no added pressure. I came from a big program like Ohio State where the fan base is very passionate about their sports. So there's definitely no added pressure for me in terms of that.

"I expect myself to be a franchise quarterback and one day hopefully a top five quarterback in this league. That's what I'm going out to do, I'm going to work every day to reach my goal and reach new heights."

It might come immediately or a little bit later.

Either way, it could be Fields is inevitable.

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