A great fear about quarterback development has always been the wasted rookie year.
This is not a rookie year like Patrick Mahomes had with one start or like Aaron Rodgers when he sat until the Packers finally rid themselves of aging Brett Favre.
Rather, the wasted rookie year feared by many is when a quarterback enters the NFL and plays poorly or simply like an average rookie in a bad system, then must switch offenses or entire coaching staffs the next season after firings.
It's the Bears scenario with Mitchell Trubisky, repeating all over again now with Justin Fields.
Poor offenses and staffs stunting development is viewed as the potential problem. It's not a good challenge to face in Year 2 because Year 2 is so critical in a QBs development.
Before being fired, Bears coach Matt Nagy said he felt Fields would benefit greatly from the 10 starts and 12 games he played as a rookie.
Will he? The Bears offense was atrocious and its ranking at No. 32 in passing couldn't be blamed entirely on Fields playing before he was ready. Those 36 sacks Fields took didn't help, either.
Now Fields must learn an entirely new offense with different coaches teaching him.
Fields had a rather spotty rookie season, putting up unimpressive overall numbers with seven touchdown passes, 10 interceptions, 6.9 yards per attempt and a 73.2 passer rating.
In many ways it was like Trubisky's rookie year with the Bears. In a few it wasn't. The spectacular plays Fields made were way beyond anything Trubisky could manage.
Stunting growth was a real fear in Chicago when the Bears drafted Trubisky and watched him struggle as a rookie under John Fox and Dowell Loggains. However, Trubisky actually improved immeadiately after Nagy came to Chicago. He never improved after that.
With a new coaching staff coming in for his second season, the great fear is Fields could take even longer to develop now thanks to Nagy's failings, or might not develop at all if George McCaskey, Ted Phillips and Bill Polian don't do their job correctly with the right hire.
The hiring committee needs a coach who has enough offensive expertise to install and operate a functioning system capable of letting Fields elevate, or a defensive coach who brings in offensive minds who will do the same thing.
Otherwise, you could see Fields rot on the vine, so to speak. He could become another Deshone Kizer or Josh Rosen, draft busts who really didn't have Year 2s.
The classic case of poor coaching damaging someone seems to be Sam Darnold, who showed promise as a rookie when Todd Bowles was coach in New York, then took a dip with subsequent seasons under worse coaching.
History Says Year 2 is Critical
Disruption of switching systems in Year 2 could be an obstacle for a quarterback to overcome but history shows this usually isn't the case.
If a quarterback is going to improve, they almost always make strides in Year 2 regardless of system. If they don't, they're probably headed down the Dwayne Haskins path.
There have been a few who waited to Year 3, but not many. Baker Mayfield is a classic case of one who rocketed in Year 3 after bad coaching his first two seasons.
Going back five drafts and their subsequent seasons, there are numerous cases of coaching staffs and/or offense changing in Year 2 for a QB, and plenty stepping up to improve with proper guidance.
With little guidance, you can get Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
Poor Jones put up good rookie numbers but the coaching staff changed in Year 2 and Joe Judge's team never succeed at anything. Jones' stats have gone backward since Pat Shurmur's staff was fired following his 2019 rookie season.
If the Bears don't want something like this to happen, this coaching hire is huge.
McCaskey showed during the press conference he realizes it's important to find a coach who can work to develop Fields.
So it's rather strange they had Brian Flores to Chicago for an interview because all accounts suggest he disrupted Tua Tagovailoa's development by either causing OC's to quit or by firing them in his quarterback's first two years. He had four OCs in three years.
It's on the head coach to hire effective offensive coordinators and if he has four in three years then how successful can he be at this critical duty? It's not surprising the Dolphins started so poorly in 2021 with all of the disruption.
Here's how quarterbacks handled coaching or offensive changes made in their second seasons dating back five drafts: .
QBs and Year 2 Change
Justin Herbert, L.A. Chargers
Rookie Year: Head coach Anthony Lynn, OC Shane Steichen; 7.3 yards an attempt, 98.3 rating, 31 TDs to 10 INTs, 6-9 record.
2021 Year 2: Head coach Brandon Staley, OC Joe Lombardi; 7.5 yards an attempt, 97.7 rating, 38 TDs to 15 INTs, 9-8 recor
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami
Rookie Year: Head coach Brian Flores, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey; 6.3 yards an attempt, 87.1 rating, 11 TDs to 5 interceptions, 6-3 record as starter.
2021 Year 2: Switched offensive systems-coordinators to George Godsey and Eric Studesville; 6.8 yards an attempt, 90.1 rating, 7 TDs to 5 INTs, 7-5 record.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia
Rookie Year: Head coach/OC Doug Pederson; 7.2 yards an attempt, 77.6 rating, 6 TDs, 4 INTs, 2-2 starting record and 15 total game appearances.
2021 Year 2: Head coach Nick Sirianni, OC Shane Steichen; 7.3 yards an attempt, 87.2 rating, 16 TDs to 9 INTs, 8-7 starting record.
Daniel Jones, N.Y. Giants
Rookie Year: Head coach Pat Shurmur, OC Mike Shula; 6.6 yards an attempt, 87.7 rating, 24 TDs to 12 INTs, 3-9 starting record.
2020 Year 2: Head coach Joe Judge, OC Jason Garrett, 6.7 yards an attempt, 84.8 rating, 11 TDs to 10 INTs, 5-9 starting record.
Dwayne Haskins, Washington
Rookie Year: Head coach Jay Gruden-Bill Callahan, OC Kevin O'Connell; 6.7 yards an attempt, 76.1 rating, 7 TDs to 7 INTs, 2-5 starting record in nine appearances.
2020 Year 2: Head coach Ron Rivera, OC Scott Turner; 6.0 yards an attempt, 73.0 rating, 5 TDs to 7 INTs, 1-5 starting record in 7 appearances.
Drew Lock, Denver
Rookie Year: Head coach Vic Fangio, OC Rich Scangarello; 6.5 yards an attempt, 89.7 rating, 7 TDs to 3 INTs, 4-1 record in starts.
2020 Year 2: Head coach Vic Fangio, OC Pat Shurmur; 6.6 yards an attempt, 75.4 rating, 16 TDs to 15 INTs, 4-9 record in starts.
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville
Rookie Year: Head coach Doug Marrone, OC John DeFilippo; 7.0 yards an attempt, 91.2 rating, 21 TDs to 6 INTs, 6-6 starting record.
2020 Year 2: Head coach Doug Marrone, OC Jay Gruden; 6.9 yards an attempt, 95.9 rating, 16 TDs to 5 INTs, 1-7 starting record.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland
Rookie Year: Head coach Hue Jackson, OCs Todd Haley and Freddie Kitchens; 7.7 yards an attempt, 93.7 rating, 27 TDs to 14 INTs, 6-7 starting record.
2019 Year 2: Head coach Freddie Kitchens, OC Todd Monken; 7.2 yards an attempt, 78.8 rating, 22 TDs to 21 INTs, 6-10 starting record.
Sam Darnold, N.Y. Jets
Rookie Year: Head coach Todd Bowles, OC Jeremy Bates; 6.9 yards an attempt, 77.6 rating, 17 TDs to 15 INTs, 4-9 starting record.
2019 Year 2: Head coach Adam Gase, OC Dowell Loggains: 6.9 yards an attempt, 84.3 rating, 19 TDs to 13 INTs, 7-6 record.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore
Rookie Year: Head coach John Harbaugh, OC Marty Mornhinweg; 7.0 yards an attempt, 84.5 rating, 6 TDs to 3 INTs, 6-1 starting record.
2019 Year 2: Head coach John Harbaugh, OC Greg Roman; 7.8 yards an attempt, 113.3 rating, 36 TDs to 6 INTs, 13-2 record.
Mitchell Trubisky, BEARS
Rookie Year: Head coach John Fox, OC Dowell Loggains; 6.6 yards an attempt, 77.5 rating, 7 TDs to 7 INTs, 4-8 starting record.
2018 Year 2: Head coach Matt Nagy, OC Mark Helfrich; 7.4 yards an attempt, 95.4 rating, 24 TDs to 12 INTs, 11-3 starting record.
Jared Goff, L.A. Rams
Rookie Year: Head coach Jeff Fisher/John Fassel, OC Rob Boras; 5.3 yards an attempt, 63.6 rating, 5 TDs to 7 INTs, 0-7 starting record.
2017 Year 2: Head coach Sean McVay, OC Matt LaFleur; 8.0 yards an attempt, 100.5 rating, 28 TDs to 7 INTs, 11-4 starting record.
Rookie Year: Head coach Gary Kubiak, OC Rick Dennison; 6.0 yards an attempt, 79.2 rating, 2 TDs to 1 INT, 1-1 starting record.
2017 Year 2: Head coach Vance Joseph, OC Bill Musgrave/Mike McCoy; 6.6 yards an attempt, 72.0 rating, 2 TDs to 3 INTs, 0-2 record.