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Last weekend's game between the Bears and the Browns was ugly. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields started the game in place of an injured Andy Dalton. We all knew that Fields would start eventually, but this was not the game to throw him to the sharks.

Just like I said at the end of preseason, the Bears' offensive line was completely unable to hold off an aggressive pass rush from the Browns. But it was far uglier than I think any of us thought it would be, as the Browns totaled 9 sacks of poor Justin Fields. I think we all hoped that his mobility would allow him to escape the pocket and make plays on the ground, but it did not pan out that way. Fields often looked timid while moving around, as if he was trying to force the ball downfield rather than let himself take off and run. This resulted in him being dragged down from behind several times, and taking a lot more hits than he should have.

Justin Fields sack
Photo by Associated Press
Justin Fields was sacked 9 times by the Browns, and couldn't move the ball at all.

The Bears' offense was completely incompetent. It wasn't just pass blocking and Fields. The running game wasn't very effective, and receivers were dropping more than their fair share of passes. The whole offense looked like it was completely overwhelmed and shell-shock -- not just Fields.

I largely agreed with sitting Fields on the bench, especially for these first 3 games. You don't want your rookie quarterback starting his career with the likes of Aaron Donald, Myles Garret, and Jadaveon Clowney constantly in his face. It was a recipe for disaster, and that's exactly what we saw last Sunday. Perhaps Coach Nagy and the Bears' staff should have opted to start the more experienced Nick Foles against the Browns, especially if the coaching staff had concerns that Fields simply wasn't ready yet, or that they hadn't seen enough of what he can do in practice. Perhaps they should have been giving him more first team practice reps to begin with. Maybe they should have also planned on rotating Fields in for more snaps during these first three games, similar to what the 49ers are doing with Trey Lance.

Trey Lance
Photo by Associated Press
The 49ers give situational reps to Trey Lance, which is what the Bears should be doing with Fields.

The Bears as an organization have been very bad at evaluating and developing quarterback talent. This has been true throughout the teams' entire century-long history. It is worrisome to see this level of incompetence in how the organization has handled the preparation of Justin Fields -- arguably the most exciting quarterback talent the organization has ever had on its roster. It makes me wonder if they've already completely sabotaged Fields' career as a Bear.

The upcoming game against the Lions is the game that should have been Fields' first start. The Lions are awful, and have one of the worst defenses that the Bears are likely to see the entire year. It would have been a perfect opportunity to build up Justin's confidence by getting him easy completions with relatively little pressure, and letting the running game carry the offense if Fields struggles. Instead, Fields will be coming into this game with the pressure of a Sword of Damacles already hanging over his head. If he can't play well against the Lions (irrespective of the Bears' struggling offensive line and piss-poor play-calling), many will start to look at him as a bust.

05/22/2023 21:20:22 #


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