Justin Fields enters a pivotal Year 2 with a new Chicago Bears coaching staff that already has the young quarterback feeling better about his process.
“Last year, my rookie year, I didn’t know if I was going to start or not, didn’t know if I was going to play,” Fields said Tuesday, via the team’s official website. “My mindset right now is completely different than last year, and I’m just excited to get started.”
In his rookie campaign, Fields started 10 games, completing 58.9% of his passes for 1,870 yards, seven TDs, 10 interceptions and a 73.2 passer rating. There were flashes of a big arm and athletic ability, but inconsistent processing led to struggles.
The previous coaching staff never seemed to know how to properly mesh Fields’ skill set to their offense, which produced a square peg-round hole situation. The second-year signal-caller hopes the new staff will fit him better.
“I hope that they will just tailor the plays to my skill set,” Fields said, “which we’re going to do, so just finding out what I do best, what we do best as an offense, what we do best as a team, and run that offense.”
Teams with new coaches are allotted an additional voluntary minicamp for veterans before the draft, which allows them to get on the field and install new schemes. The Bears kicked off their voluntary minicamp this week under Matt Eberflus.
“He’s just soaking it in and taking command of the offense,” Eberflus said of Fields. “He’s done a great job with that so far. I thought he did an excellent job today, he really did. He was in command of the offense, really every play that I saw. When you’re working with 11 guys, there was a mistake here and there by this person or that person. But, man, he had really good command today.”
In addition to tailoring the offense to fit their quarterback better, the Bears have already made one important tweak in Fields’ fundamentals.
“One big thing was changing my drop,” Fields said. “Last year, I had my right foot forward in the gun. [This offseason] I’ve been working a lot having my left foot forward in the gun. It’s just what they do in their offense. It times it better with the routes and stuff like that, so that’s why we do it.”
Getting Fields in an offense better suited to his skill set with a staff that has plans for how to grow the talented but raw quarterback is one part. The other comes with getting pieces around him. Thus far, the cap-strapped Bears haven’t done much to upgrade the offensive line or receiver room this offseason.
Without a first-round pick, finding a dynamic, game-changing rookie will be more difficult, but Fields said he looks forward to whomever the Bears scoop up in the draft next week.
“Of course,” Fields said. “There are a lot of guys coming out in this year’s draft who are talented. I’m excited to see who we get.”
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