As the Bears fill out their coaching staff under Matt Eberflus, one of the biggest questions moving forward is how will offensive coordinator Luke Getsy build an offense around Justin Fields? Beyond that, can Fields develop into the superstar quarterback the team hoped he could be when they traded up to draft him at No. 11 overall in last year’s draft?
Geoff Schwartz, former NFL offensive lineman and host of the “Geoff Schwartz is Smarter Than You” podcast caught up with NBC Sports Chicago at the Super Bowl’s Radio Row to share his thoughts. Schwartz said the jury is still out on Fields, but if he is to develop into a superstar the Bears will need to give him a better chance to succeed than they did last year.
“He'll have an opportunity and we'll see early in this year, whether he kind of has ‘it,’” Schwartz told NBC Sports Chicago. “I think you can be good and not have ‘it,’ but you drafted him early, you want to win Super Bowls with him. So it's too early to say anything about him because he didn't really get a fair shake last year. But I think by the end of next season, middle of the year, you kind of know if he makes those special plays.
“He just needs a chance. You know, I think that offense was disjointed in what they did. I thought he got better throughout the season. You know, I could have sworn off being very vocal about quarterbacks because Josh Allen burned me. He made a historic change. But I think there really is something to the idea of you kind of sort of know early on. I mean, you know, of course, there's room for improvement and Fields was really given no legit shot last year.”
Fields did fight uphill for much of his rookie season. He wasn’t given starter reps for much of training camp, which hindered his ability to generate any chemistry with the offensive playmakers when he finally did play. Then there were the questionable protection plans in his first start which led to a historically poor performance against the Browns. It took several weeks for the Bears offense to be set up to match Fields’ strengths, too.
All that said, the former Bears regime doesn’t shoulder 100% of the blame for Fields’ underwhelming rookie campaign. Fields will have to take some responsibility to improve individually too.
“I think he can clean up a little bit of the long delivery sometimes,” Schwartz said. “And you know, I think that Ohio State is still in him, where we want to take that deep shot as much as possible. Just take what’s underneath, right? And this offense, especially if it's kind of that LaFleur, McVay, Shanahan offense, he'll have plenty of easy options.”