Bears won’t pass on plan to get Justin Fields more throws

Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s developmental plan for quarterback Justin Fields is all about incremental, steady growth — stepping stones to success instead of a flip-the-switch, breakthrough moment. He just wants Fields to get better from game to game.

It’s a textbook plan to develop the talented Fields into an elite quarterback. But it’s unlikely to happen 11 passes at a time.

That’s the challenge facing Getsy after two weeks of his first season as an offensive coordinator. Fields threw just 11 passes (plus three sacks) in the Bears’ 27-10 loss to the Packers on Sunday night at Lambeau Field — a game in which the Bears were trailing for 48:50 out of 60 minutes.

Fields completed 7-of-11 passes for 70 yards, no touchdowns and one interception for a 43.8 passer rating. Getsy instead leaned on the running game. David Montgomery had 15 carries for 122 yards (8.1 avg.) and Khalil Herbert added four carries for 38 yards as the Bears rushed for 180 yards on 27 carries –averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

“We were going with what was working,” Eberflus said. “We were hitting some big runs and it was working for us and it [could have] put us into a one-score game [with] eight minutes [left].”

Eberflus said it’s not because the Bears don’t have faith in Fields. “We trust him for sure.” But 11 passes in a game the Bears are trailing by two touchdown for the entire second half says otherwise.

Let’s face it, the Bears aren’t ready to lean on Justin Fields right now. He’s not good enough. He’s running an offense that still has training wheels on. He’s can’t lift a team on his shoulders against a formidable defense. Not with this supporting cast. Not yet. He doesn’t have a Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. He doesn’t have a Justin Jefferson. His offensive line has now played two games together.

The Bears are paying the price for putting everything on Getsy to devise and install a scheme that will make the most of Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Equanimeous St. Brown and Byron Pringle. General manager Ryan Poles watched Sunday night’s game from the Lambeau Field press box with his eyes wide open.

This was by Poles’ design. He sees a bright future. Everyone else sees Mooney and Kmet with a combined two catches for four yards after two games, and shudders. And you can’t blame them. At this point we have no more confirmation that Fields eventually will make than we ever had about Mitch Trubisky.

But it’s Week 3.

Through two weeks of the regular season, Getsy’s approach to developing Fields is almost the polar opposite of Matt Nagy’s approach with Trubisky. In two games, Fields is averaging 14 passes. In his first season under Nagy in 2018, Trubisky averaged 31.8 passes a game.

There has to be a happy medium, and Getsy surely will be looking for that. Eberflus is.

“I think you need balance,” Eberflus said. “We’d like to be 50/50 [run-pass] in a game … because that keeps the defense honest.”

The Bears didn’t get that balance against the Packers — officially a 66/34 balance with 27 running plays and 14 passing plays. The next move is Getsy’s, starting Sunday against the Texans at Soldier Field. When Nagy was lambasted for running the ball just seven times against the Saints in 2019, he overcompensated by running the ball 38 times against the Chargers the following week — and lost, 17-16.

Coming off a disappointing loss to the Raiders in London, that Saints-Chargers episode was one of the first significant red flags about Nagy’s ability to develop a sustainable offense. It’s a little too early to start defining Luke Getsy, but Sunday’s game will go a long way to quelling some early nervous skepticism about yet another Bears offense.

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.