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A Scout’s Take: Is it time for the Bears to think about a change?

Greg Gabriel has some strong thoughts about Justin Fields and what the Bears should do here...

Kansas City Chiefs v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

There are very few who were more excited about Justin Fields than me. Coming out of college, I had him rated as the #2 Quarterback in that Draft. I felt that both Zach Wilson and Trey Lance didn’t have close to the talent of Justin Fields. I watched every game he played at Ohio State, and most of us saw him totally outplay Trevor Lawrence in the College Football Playoff Game. Who didn’t think he was going to be successful as a pro?

Well, it’s now two games into his third season as an NFL quarterback, and he has yet to show he can play in this League at a winning level. The mistakes he made as a rookie, he is still making now.

Like many of us, we put the blame on coaching. The script was that he was handled incorrectly by Matt Nagy and his staff. Then last year, it was a new coaching regime, a new system, but no supporting cast.

This year, General Manager Ryan Poles went out and got Fields some more playmakers, and guess what? We are still seeing the same thing.

There comes a time when you can’t blame the coaches, and you have to start putting blame where it is supposed to be, and that’s on the player himself. I have been as patient as most, and maybe even more, but after Sunday in Tampa, I put up the white flag.

Justin Fields is not an NFL starting quarterback, and it looks like he will never be. Why? He can’t process, see the field, and make quick decisions. He holds on to the football too damn long!

On Sunday, there were several times when there were plays to be made, and some of them potential big plays that were there. He never threw the ball. The most obvious one was late in the first half when he took a sack. He had D.J. Moore open in the left flat; if he throws it there, it’s a first down. He had Tyler Scott wide open on a crossing route that would have, at worst, created a first and goal. Last, he has Roschon Johnson wide open on a seam for an easy TD. All three players on the same play were wide open. He saw none of them. If Fields were a rookie, I’d get it, but he’s not. He’s in his third year. How hard is it to make a decision and get the ball out of your hand? That is what baffles me.

The play I just described was not the only one. There were several more where receivers were wide open, and Fields failed to see them.

This all brings me to this question, and that is, have we seen enough?

At this point, I say yes. Why do I want to make a change? The Bears have a rookie quarterback in Tyson Bagent, who just may be darn good. I can’t say for sure because he hasn’t played in a regular season game. Yes, I know he comes from a D-II background, but that doesn’t scare me because of his overall stats in college. This kid has experience. He’s thrown more passes for more yards and more TDs than any QB in college football history. That’s an achievement!

During the pre-season, I did not know what to expect from Bagent, given his D-II experience, but he showed me he is very talented, and the NFL game is not too big for him. Look, I watched Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson perform in the pre-season, and Bagent was as good, if not better. Why? Young, Stroud and Richardson played with first-team players. Bagent played with backups and still performed. He is poised, accurate, quick to process, makes quick decisions, and gets the ball out of his hand with accuracy once he makes that decision. He does what a good quarterback is supposed to do.

If Fields isn’t the answer, The Chicago Bears may have to use one of their two first-round picks on a quarterback. But what if they don’t need to do that? What if Bagent can be a solid starting NFL QB? The only way the decision-makers are going to find out is if Bagent gets the opportunity to play.

I agree it may still be a bit early, and maybe Fields needs a few more weeks. If that is the case, and the arrow doesn’t begin to go up, then a change has to be made.