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What the Bears Offense Will Look Like

Justin Fields has become such a big part of the Bears offense, but here's what could happen if he is unavailable against the Jets.

Justin Fields is missing time, and how much will be determined by his ability to recover and the severity of his shoulder dislocation.

The Bears coped with shoulder injuries to Mitchell Trubisky twice during his time as Bears quarterback and he missed a couple of games each time.

This probably doesn't mean much in relation to Fields' injury since recovery time from such an injury is dependent on severity and the individual player's ability to recover.

It hasn't even been confirmed by the Bears that this actually is a shoulder dislocation and, in fact, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio and ESPN's Adam Schefter have both refuted the NFL Network story and reported this is not a dislocated shoulder.

What isn't debatable is the impact of a game without Fields at quarterback, Sunday against the New York Jets.

"It'd be very different, especially losing a guy like that," running back David Montgomery said. "Especially losing Justin, who he is and what he means to this team and to this offense. Yeah, it's gonna be super difficult to not have him."

It's next man up, Trevor Siemian with Nathan Peterman becoming the backup.

"But, you know, coach (Luke Getsy) and the offense, we prepare all those guys the same," Montgomery said. "Whether it's Nate or Trev or whoever it is, we're all prepared to roll. Justin's always ready to roll, too."

Except, when he's not prepared to roll.

Perhaps Fields plays or doesn't, or perhaps he does like Teven Jenkins and says he's available only to be a sub.

Here's the likely impact on the Bears if they're without Fields for at least this week's game against a Jets team that has a quarterback issue of its own.

1. Receivers and Linemen Have Easier Jobs

The ball will come out in time and this could make receivers happier. It could make linemen happier, too. Fields had been making progress in terms of getting the ball out faster. NextGen Stats had clocked him into the low 2.9 seconds, best he has been. However, after last week's game his time is 3.12 seconds and that's the slowest in the league. It's even slower than Zach Wilson, who has had this problem with the Jets. With the ball out quicker, receivers know where and when to expect the ball and linemen know how long they have to protect.

2. Receivers and Linemen Have Tougher Jobs

If the ball came out a hundreth of a second slower from Fields, plays also frequently went from sack disasters to big gains on scrambles. Once it was a 61-yard scramble for a touchdown. Or he might scramble around and when no receiver manages to get open on his initial route, there is time to find targets in the scramble drill. Twice Fields did this for nice gains Sunday. Fields has been sacked 40 times, the most in the league, and he has been a great deodorizer for his linemen and blockers. But he has made their job tougher at times, too. It's difficult to say which impact is greater but Sunday's game should provide a clue which is.

3. Montgomery's Job Becomes Extremely Critical

Not that Montgomery had an easy job Sunday, but the Bears always could go to Fields on planned running plays if the ground game was struggling. Now, they not only lack Khalil Herbert as a breakaway threat, but they'll be without the other backfield breakaway threat. Montgomery is going to find yardage even tougher to come by with the defense's entire focus on him. Montgomery might even be in the 25-carry category if the running game actually works, but it's going to be difficult to accomplish because the Jets defense is ninth against the run.

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4. Big Plays Go Down

The Bears have been coming up with touchdowns from the other side of midfield unlike any time in recent years with Fields playing. They'll go back to standard operating procedure without the possibilities of big plays.

5. Ball Control Ends

Fields' scrambling has been instrumental in maintaining possession of the ball. Somehow, with eight losses, they are still 11th in average TOP (30:39). A total of 18 Fields scrambles on third or fourth down have gone for first downs, according to That's extending drives that normally might not have been extended. Take away an offense's ability to extend drives and to make bigger plays and what are you left with? The result might not be something people want to watch.

6. Red Zone 

Remove one very elusive threat in the red zone. Two of Fields' seven TD runs are long breakaways. But the rest are not. The Bears depend greatly on Fields' running while in the red zone. It gets them points when execution or play design do not.

7. Truth Comes to Light

While the effect on linemen and receivers will be felt, it's also going to make assessing all of them easier or more obvious. Which linemen really need replacing most next year? This should be more apparent when Fields isn't saving the day every other play. Which receivers are most capable of winning on their routes? The Bears should have a pretty good idea of this, anyway. Darnell Mooney didn't suddenly lose his ability to run routes that he showed the last two years. But there are several additions to the roster who need to make statements: Byron Pringle, N'Keal Harry, even Chase Claypool. It might be more apparent how well they run routes if the ball is coming out in time for at least a game.

8. The Play Caller

The offense has been more productive since Luke Getsy switched against New England to an attack emphasizing Fields' running ability. Now he won't have this option. If his play calls didn't work out, sometimes they turn into big plays because of Fields. Now, with Siemian at QB, the right play call takes on a much bigger role. Just like Fields is a deodorizer for his linemen and receivers, he has done the same for Getsy. Now Getsy will need to stand on his own two feet, in essence.


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