You’re not supposed to rebound right away after missing on a top quarterback. The kind of lofty investment necessary to even hope that a young signal caller succeeds means you’re often back at Square One when he doesn’t. Your entire roster was tailored to his abilities. The championship window you thought was open, and was only cracked open because he was at his most affordable while still gifted. When that falls through, you’re picking up the pieces, wondering where it went wrong. You’re thanking your lucky stars you still have a job.
Sometimes you get a second wind. Regardless of how you feel about who was most at fault for the Mitchell Trubisky era not panning out in Chicago, launching someone into the fold like Justin Fields, right away, is not the norm. Franchise regimes are toppled for less than what happened with Trubisky. And when they aren’t, they’re almost never finding such hopeful, stellar immediate replacements.
When the Bears open the 2021 season this September, I’ll be most looking forward to watching how they develop Fields. When he starts. What they throw at him. Where he excels. Where he struggles. When he has that first “wow” moment validating his position as the new franchise savior. When he frustrates and makes everyone remember that yes, he’s still a rookie. These four months are all about Fields, the steps he takes backwards, and the vaults and progressions he makes forward.
I don’t expect the Bears to be a legitimate contender in 2021. I don’t think they’re ready to play and hang with the heavyweights around the league yet. They have too many flaws up front offensively and on the defensive back end for me to take their January and February prospects seriously. But for the time being, Fields can make them relevant and fun. He can inject excitement into what was going to be a transitional year anyway before his arrival. He probably will.
By now, it should be considered beyond foolish to get emotionally invested in a Bears quarterback. Years of what could’ve been, should’ve been, but never was have left countless scars on a football city that, quite frankly, is at its wit’s end when it comes to the most important position in American professional sports.
But I don’t get that same nervous feeling with Fields. I didn’t have to talk myself into him after the Bears anointed his services. I didn’t have to ignore any obvious blemishes on a sparkling resume, or see any cracks in a charming, confident demeanor. Fields feels like the real deal — an actual Big Boy quarterback prospect that the Bears haven’t had the luxury of developing in decades. If he fails, it’s never going to work out at quarterback for Chicago.
Something tells me the Bears won’t be at Square One again in four years. Something makes me believe I won’t have to worry about such a drastic scenario of failure. And we’ll all see the start of such a story this fall.
Now it’s your turn. What are you most looking forward to about the 2021 Bears season?