The Bears are coming off an awful 3-14 season where the offense struggled to score consistently, and the defense struggled to stop their opponents. Yet there’s real reason for optimism that things will improve in 2023. Ryan Poles will have tons of resources to reshape the roster, as he controls the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft and has the most money to spend in free agency, by far. But the No. 1 reason to believe better days are ahead in Chicago is because of the man who wears No. 1: Justin Fields.
Fields took a noticeable step in his second season. The biggest developments came as a runner and as a playmaker, but there was growth in the passing game, too. On the “Rich Eisen Show” on Thursday, Fields said he believed the game slowed down for him, too.
“I think so,” Fields said on the show. “I think with the experience, with just the reps, you just learn to be calm in a chaotic environment. You know, it's the big D-linemen trying to sack you and stuff like that. You just have to be calm as a quarterback and stuff like that.”
Fields showed a knack for evading pass rushers to reel off big gains in 2022. But he still knows a thing or two about taking big hits. He was sacked 55 times last year, which tied for most in the NFL with Russell Wilson.
Fields knows he has room to improve, though. He specifically mentioned needing to get better in the short passing game, whether it’s on run alerts or screen plays.
“I might have gotten too lazy on those, and it’s just really easy,” said Fields. “I think it's definitely a mechanic thing, so yeah just fixing those mechanics. Now is the time where I can really get back into it and kind of focus on that. So when the season does roll around, yeah, clicking on all cylinders.”