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Q&A with Football Outsiders about the 2022 Chicago Bears: Setting a bar for Justin Fields

Our annual Q&A series starts with a discussion on Justin Fields’ outlook going into Year 2.

Chicago Bears Training Camp Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The SB Nation NFL blog sites have partnered with Football Outsiders over the last few years to try and provide more context on the 32 teams.

The person who will try to shed some light on the Bears’ 2022 outlook is FO writer Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass). We start this year’s series — spread into four parts — with a talk about Justin Fields in Year 2 and how much hope there is for the young quarterback moving forward.

Chicago Bears Training Camp Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Windy City Gridiron: The talk of the Bears’ off-season has understandably centered around Justin Fields and what Chicago did to support him, or lack thereof. The Bears, more than anything, seem to be banking on coaching changes for better individual play. What precedent is there that this strategy can work for a young quarterback? Is there any reason for optimism for Fields as he tries to lift a below-average supporting cast?

Derik Klassen: I love Justin Fields dearly, but even if the coaches are better (and they can be, Matt Nagy wasn’t any good), I just have a hard time seeing how this offensive line and wide receiver situation are good enough for Fields to thrive. Given the roster, if Fields can look competent and show more promising flashes, that’s a win. They could parlay that into 2023 and hope for a real jump then. The closest thing I can think to a mediocre-to-bad offensive roster hindering a quarterback in Year 2 before a huge jump in Year 3 is Josh Allen, but Allen also had that coaching staff from the jump and got Stefon Diggs in a trade before Year 3.