When I head out to Halas Hall to watch the Chicago Bears training camp my attention is usually on the offensive linemen, and I’ll be sure to give the big guys plenty of time, but this year my attention will focused on Justin Fields.
I know some want to believe in the old axiom “defense wins championships,” and sure, I can agree that a good defense and running game is still a sound blueprint for postseason contention, but if you don’t have a franchise quarterback your odds to hoist the Lombardi Trophy drop significantly. An elite quarterback isn’t a necessity to win a Super Bowl, but you better have a player in that position that is capable on going on elite runs.
As a rookie Justin Fields wasn’t able to string together consistently good play, but that’s the norm for first year quarterbacks. Year two is often the time things change for young signal callers, and so far the GM, the coaches, and the players are all lauding the potential Fields has in his new offense.
Fields was hampered in 2021 by a silly plan to prepare him, by a coaching staff that wasn’t sure how to use him, and by a scheme that didn’t do him any favors. There’s been a lot made about the lack of talent he has to work with for his sophomore season, but is it any worse than what he had as a rookie? There’s good argument to be made that the players around him are are better than what he was working with a season ago.
The offensive line has a few positions that need to be settled, and the receiving corps has a lot to prove, not to mention a first time play-caller, but if Fields is that guy, he’ll bring the entire offense together.
And by “that guy” I don’t mean he’ll immediately start playing at an elite level, but he’ll show weekly progress. His positive flashes will slowly start to outweigh his mistakes, and he’ll continue to grow as a leader.
Considering he’s the quarterback that they traded up for in the first round a season ago, he’s already the face of the franchise by default, but this season is the time for him to solidify the franchise’s faith in him. Sure it was a different regime that moved up to get him, but the pedigree is there, the potential is there, and the belief is there from the current regime that Justin Fields can solve Chicago’s long term quarterbacking problem.
I can’t wait to see how Fields performs at training camp between the lines, but also how he carries himself now that he’s the unquestioned QB1. I want to see how he interacts with his teammates while on the field during practice, but also when they’re on the sideline. I want to see how much time he’s spending with his head coach, offensive coordinator and position coach.
I put Justin Fields at number 1 in my Most Important Bears list this year for several reasons, but at the main reason is he can single handedly make the 2022 season a success. If the team struggles to win games — and I expect them to — but Fields is growing every week and proving he’s the long-term guy, then the year would have been a success regardless of record.
Check out what Sam is most looking forward to about camp this year by clicking here, get Rahul’s take here, JB has his thoughts here, and let us know in the comment section what you’ll most be looking forward to when the Bears report to camp.