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Tangible Evidence of Justin Fields' Progress

Matt Eberflus likes something Justin Fields shows in practice, and it's not merely  his leadership or hard work.

It's been difficult to ascertain much about what the Bears coaching staff thought of Justin Fields beyond his leadership ability and work ethic.

Coach Matt Eberflus on Tuesday in the second week of organized team activities found some very important things Fields is doing well.

"I would say, 'man, he throws a good deep ball,'" Eberflus said. "I would say that. I'm excited about that.

"And you could see it in the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11s and we're gonna take our shots down the field and man, he does a nice job doing that. And that's what stands out to me."

The deep ball can open up an entire offense and Eberflus explained how.

"I think twofold: the deep ball and then the ability to run with the ball," Eberflus said. "I think those things stretch you, so when you get stretched vertically and horizontally like that, it always causes stressors on a defense. It doesn’t matter what kind of style you’re running."

Tight end Cole Kmet worked with Fields in Georgia during the offseason and has seen this over and over. Earlier, Darnell Mooney had commented on how uch better Fields' passes seemed this year.

"That guy also works at it, too," Kmet said. "I think there was a day where it was windy as heck and he was upset because the wind was blowing like 30 miles an hour and he's out there, like, launching balls after practice.

"But yeah, it's definitely something that he works on and you can see it. Just the other day he had a couple great throws and even today he did as well."

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The progress they see in Fields continues in other ways, as well. Kmet said it's apparent even in something as simple as calling out the play in the huddle.

"Just Year 1 to Year 2, I would say, you just feel him in the huddle," Kmet said. "He's not just repeating the play, he's telling you the play, and there's a difference in that.

"That gives me confidence as a player out in the field. He's talking to each guy. It's not just a repeat-a-play, he's telling us a play, which is a difference."

Fields has grown closer to the coaching staff and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. He's even been a golf buddy for coaches.

"Yeah, Oh yeah, no question," Eberflus said. "You can sense a connection throughout the whole (offensive) room. You really can. I think it's a work in progress just like the rest of the rooms are but we are pleasantly surprised where it is right now."

Then there is the all important mastery of the offense. It seems Fields is accomplishing this right along with providing leadership.

"We've seen him just develop day to day, just keep getting better and keep learning the system and now he's starting to take control," Eberflus said. "In terms of getting guys lined up, helping guys after the play, 'you need to do this way,' 'you need to do it that way,' and he does it in a good way.

"You know, the No. 1 thing, one of the things we talked the first day is respect. We have to respect each other. So you have to be able to look each other in the eye and tell the truth. You've got to be able to do that and that's what he does and do it in a respectful way and a challenging way."

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