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Bears minicamp observations: How Justin Fields bounced back after opening pick-six

Justin Fields shook off a rocky start to author his most impressive stretch of the offseason program

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Bears quarterback Justin Fields' day got off to an inauspicious start Wednesday on Day 2 of mandatory minicamp at Halas Hall.

One day after struggling against the second-team defense in the two-minute drill, Fields opened the 7-on-7 period with a pass to the right side that was ticketed for DJ Moore. The pass missed the mark, and safety Jaquan Brisker picked it off and took it back for a score. Brisker ran almost all the way to the weight room as the defense celebrated a takeaway they hope is a sign of things to come for the second-year safety.

Fields and Moore spent the next couple minutes talking about the route and what might have been a miscommunication.

Then, Fields returned to the drill and ripped off arguably his best stretch of the offseason phase.

After a quick pass to D'Onta Foreman in the flat, Fields threaded found tight end Robert Tonyan up the right seam, dropping the ball just over the outstretched hand of linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and just in front of Brisker.

On the next throw, Fields dropped back and fired a deep shot to Moore down the left sideline. Jaylon Johnson had perfect coverage with safety Elijah Hicks closing fast, but Fields dropped the ball in a spot where only Moore could catch it. The Bears' new No. 1 receiver plucked the ball out of the air and got both feet down before stepping out of bounds.

Johnson responded by almost notching an interception on the next throw when he jumped a quick hitch by rookie Tyler Scott and batted the ball away.

Fields finished the period with another deep completion to Moore against Johnson and back-to-back completions to Velus Jones Jr. By my unofficial count, Fields went 9-for-13 during the 7-on-7 period with an interception and a dropped pass by Tonyan.

The 11-on-11 started with a nice completion from Fields to Pettis on a deep corner route but fizzled as Brisker and Kyler Gordon broke up passes, and Terrell Lewis batted one down at the line.

The Bears finished the day with the same two-minute drill that the offense failed at Tuesday. Trailing by one with 1:40 left and one timeout, the Bears' offense got the ball at their own 20-yard line.

The results were better this time around.

Fields opened the drive with a quick completion to running back Trestan Ebner for 5 yards before hitting tight end Cole Kmet over the middle of the field for a chunk gain.

On the next play, Fields had Kmet open on a deep shot but overthrew his tight end. A 5-yard scramble by Fields set up third-and-5 the offense easily converted when Fields threw a quick pass to Ebner to the left side.

With 22 seconds remaining, Fields lofted a ball toward the end zone for Moore. Fields' throw was slightly late and behind Moore, which caused Johnson to make contact early and get flagged for pass interference.

Fields took a knee on the next play, and the Bears kicked a game-winning field goal.

It was far from perfect, but it was progress.

Here are more notes from Day 2 of minicamp:

-- The Bears' attendance was the same as Tuesday, with Chase Claypool, Jack Sanborn, Darnell Mooney, and Terell Smith among those not participating for injury-related reasons.

-- Eberflus and the Bears' staff have emphasized the passing game during the offseason program. The Bears' head coach is pleased with where the aerial attack is, but there is still work to be done.

"I think we're on track. I really do. I really feel good where we are. We have spent a lot of time and attention on that as well, and we're going to continue doing that during training camp. To me that's great to have those 7 on 7s, where you can work on the rhythm, the timing of it, work on your pass coverage as well, and we're going to continue to do that. Like you guys said yesterday, we have guys that weren't in there, Claypool, Mooney, different guys that weren't in there that we're going to have to catch up on that. So we're going to continue to do that."

The issues Fields has faced so far this offseason should be ironed out with more work come training camp.

"It's just repetition. Coaching repetition, execution. Just go back and reset and say, 'Hey, what was the situation that caused that?' Work on it, refine and keep going forward. That's what you do," Eberflus said.

-- The Bears still have yet to add to their pass-rushing unit. Free agents like Yannick Ngakoue, Justin Houston, and Dawuane Smoot still are available. Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles will huddle after minicamp concludes to assess the needs of the roster.

"Yeah, I think they're always looking for all positions," Eberflus said Wednesday when asked about adding an edge rusher before training camp. "You know I think that is one position we are looking at and potentially we could get that done."

-- Velus Jones Jr., Tyler Scott, and Dante Pettis got work with the punt return unit today. Jones struggled with punt returns during his rocky rookie season. His ability to handle that role will be critical to his sophomore season.

"Yeah, just the experience. Him knowing what to do and how to do it. He's more consistent that way," Eberflus said of Jones. "And his work ethic has always been good. He's continued to do that. And he's been working on catching the punts, which is really good. Gonna be a big part for us if he can work that and be consistent going through camp and show he can do that on a full-time basis. So we're excited about where that is."

-- New tight end Robert Tonyan knows the NFC North landscape has shifted with the departure of his former teammate Aaron Rodgers. With the division wide-open, Tonyan feels good about the Bears' prospects to make noise this fall.

"I love where we’re at.," Tonyan said. "Overlooked, underrated, whatever you want to call it. But they still gotta step on the field because they’ve got to see us. I’m excited."

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