Insider: Justin Fields Issues Consistent With Steelers

Justin Fields has things to improve if he's going to win the starting job for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jan 7, 2024; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) looks to throw a pass during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 7, 2024; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) looks to throw a pass during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH -- The competition to be the Pittsburgh Steelers' starting quarterback is one of the most exciting storylines of this offseason. Russell Wilson is the clubhouse leader after minicamp and is feeling rejuvenated at age 35. Back-up Justin Fields is planning to make this a close battle during training camp and the preseason.

For Fields to make a real run at the starting job, he must improve in a few key areas. One of the most important is his accuracy. According to Steelers insider Ray Fittipaldo, Fields was inconsistent when throwing the ball during organized team activities and minicamp. Recently appearing on Press Coverage on SiriusXM NFL Radio, he spoke about the state of the Steelers and the QB battle.

"Fields, from what I've seen, they had a month of spring practices and he's a terrific athlete, but really the knocks against him that I heard coming in actually turned out to be true," Fittipaldo said. "He's not terribly accurate with the ball. His placement isn't all the great, and I could see them maybe having a package or two for him each week depending on the opponent, but I see this team as Russell Wilson's team."

The comments made by Fittipaldo are just the latest criticism of Justin Fields' game. In his career, he's never been described as a pocket passer or anything close to it. He has a career completion percentage of 60.3%, compared to Wilson's mark of 64.7%.

The positive for Fields is that he has made strides each year to improve his accuracy. The progress may not be large, but it's worth mentioning. During his rookie year, he had a paltry completion percentage of just 58.9%. He brought it up to 60.4% in his second year and followed that up with a 61.4% completion rate this past season.

If Fittipaldo's comments prove correct, the Steelers could have some creative plans to utilize Justin Fields. As he stated, the athleticism Fields possesses is nearly unmatched in the NFL, so the Steelers ought to use it. In 2022, he ran for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns and had 657 rushing yards this past season. However Arthur Smith and the offense draw it up, they will need the running skills of Fields at some point in the season.

Until otherwise noted, the Steelers are set to ride with Russell Wilson. He's been the better QB in OTA's and minicamp. Once they put pads on, Fields will get another chance to wrestle the job away. If he is unable to improve on his accuracy, though, he'll have a hell of a time starting for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Jacob Punturi

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