Justin Fields displayed a terrific sophomore season in the NFL, underlining, highlighting, and boldfacing his ability to run the football.
The Bears' quarterback ran for over 1,000 yards, becoming the third quarterback in history to do so. But, he didn't stop there. He showed flashes of chucking the deep ball for offense, too.
Some outsiders' elected to doubt the latter potential of his throwing skills, expressing the idea that the Bears should draft a quarterback and/or trade Fields at the opportunity of bringing in a new signal caller. Well, the Bears' offensive coordinator, Luke Getsy, effectively helped put an end to that idea by tipping his cap to Fields.
"Yeah, no, I have great confidence in Justin," Getsy said to NFL.com. "You saw the growth that he had from a year ago to where he's at now. He still has a long way to go as far as where we want to be, and he knows that.
"But nobody works harder than Justin. The kind of guy he is, the kind of leader that he is, (I am) really excited to see what we can do this coming season, you can see the most growth for 2022."
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Entering the league by way of the draft to the Bears, Fields trudged through a difficult, head-shaking rookie season under former head coach Matt Nagy. He overtook Andy Dalton as the starting quarterback during points of the season. By the season's end, he racked up a lowly 2-8 record, throwing for under 2,000 yards and tossing more interceptions than touchdowns.
Fields came back the next season better than the year prior, putting his rushing ability on display and garnering national attention. At one point during the season, he catapulted the Bears' offense into averaging above 30 points per game for four straight weeks. He broke rushing records, showed off his big arm and grew into a leadership role in the locker room.
Still, he has room to grow. His production through the air wasn't elite, nor above average. He ranked near the bottom of most passing categories in the NFL, due to the Bears' insistence to run the ball through him and running backs David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. The Bears led the league in team rushing, statistically, and broke their franchise record for most rushing yards recorded in a single season.
Therein lies Getsy's next project.
Fields said himself towards the end of the season he "doesn't plan to rush for 1,000 yards every season." But, how could you ignore that ability entirely? He became arguably the most dominant rushing quarterback in the league and one of the premier ball carriers the NFL saw this season.
Where does the offense go next?
"Yeah, I think that's the biggest question mark," Getsy said. "It's like, who do we have (on offense)? So it always gets kind of put on Justin, like, hey, you evolved to Justin, but we evolved to all 11 (players).
"We've got to figure out who those 11 are gonna be and then figure out how to get each guy the opportunity to be successful in what they're doing. So once we kind of get that in place there in the next couple of months, we've got to take it from there and figure out exactly who we want to be."