Bears Insider

Fields' growth in offense highlights OTA storylines to watch

Bears Insider
Justin Fields

The Bears' offseason program hits its next phase Monday with the start of organized team activities.

Over the next three weeks, the Bears will hold nine voluntary offseason workouts before holding mandatory veteran minicamp from June 14-16.

With the Bears back at Halas Hall starting Monday, here are three things I'll be focusing on during these nine sessions.

Justin Fields and the offense

Expect anything different?

We still don't know what to expect from offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's offense.

Fields had a rough practice during the first voluntary minicamp in April. However, Getsy told reporters at rookie minicamp that Fields is "ahead of pace" learning the offense and that the OC has been impressed with the second-year quarterback's work ethic.

If Getsy is being a straight shooter, we should see a crisper Fields during the three practices open to the media at OTAs. Does Fields, who has his third playbook in three seasons, have a better grasp of Getsy's system than in April? What is his chemistry like with his relatively new receiving corps?

How Fields progresses this season will determine how successful Year 1 of Matt Eberflus' tenure is. While it's only early May, it's vital to see marked improvement from Fields in the new system to have some positive momentum heading into summer.

Next test for rookies

We're one week removed from seeing Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker, Velus Jones Jr., and the rest of the Bears' draft class get in their first work as NFL players during rookie minicamp.

Now, we get to see the Bears' top picks look in their first work with the veterans.


Of the 11 rookies Ryan Poles drafted last month, the Bears need to get immediate contributions from Gordon, Brisker, and Jones.

Poles went by his board during the 2022 draft, using the Bears' top two picks on the secondary instead of reaching to get Fields help at receiver or offensive line.

The secondary was a big issue for the Bears last season. The hope is that both Gordon and Brisker join safety Eddie Jackson and cornerback Jaylon Johnson in the starting secondary in Week 1 when the San Francisco 49ers visit Soldier Field.

If Gordon and Brisker are healthy and aren't Day 1 starters, something went wrong.

How the two young defensive backs look in their first work with the veterans will at least give us a baseline of information about where they stand two months out from training camp.

As for Jones, the Bears obviously need help at wide receiver. The 25-year-old has a dynamic skill set, but it's unclear how the Bears plan to use him during his rookie year. We'll get an introductory look at the plan for a player who could play a key role in Getsy's offense during these three weeks.

O-line puzzle

For all the talk about the wide receiver corps, the Bears' uncertain offensive line picture could be the bigger detriment to Fields' growth in Year 2.

Right now, we expect Larry Borom to man left tackle, Cody Whitehair at left guard, Lucas Patrick at center, and Teven Jenkins at right tackle. The right guard spot is wide open with Dakota Dozier, Sam Mustipher, and perhaps sixth-round pick Zachary Thomas competing for the job.

While these non-contact practices would be categorized as "basketball on a football field," they still can give us a sense of where the line stands and whether there is competition for any other spot outside of right guard.

Patrick and Whitehair should be locks. Jenkins and Borom have the inside track at the tackle position, but Poles didn't draft them, so their spots are by no means guaranteed. Could rookie Braxton Jones make a push for a starting spot in camp? It seems improbable, but nothing should be off the table.

While it's hard to get a gauge on the line without pads on, we'll still be able to get an idea of what the protection will look like in front of Fields during his critical second season.

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