LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Jaquan Brisker never really bit his tongue on the matter, but he's certainly not going to hold back now.
The Bears' second-year safety has been a vocal critic of how NFL officials allow opposing defenses to hit quarterback Justin Fields late without penalty. The Bears have sent numerous examples to the league office, but Fields continues to get popped after the whistle.
It happened again on the first play of Sunday's 28-13 win over the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Fields took off on a quarterback run and slid before being hit late by Lions linebacker Jack Campbell. There was no flag despite Fields and head coach Matt Eberflus' protest.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Brisker has seen enough.
"If it was us, they would be throwing it. It wouldn’t even be a reaction," Brisker said Monday at Halas Hall. "They would just throw it. I think they should just treat him fair. He’s a quarterback. I know he’s 230, and he’s running a 4.3. But it doesn’t really matter. He’s still a quarterback, and we have to protect him. It’s disappointing.
"Obviously, the other team is being told to do dirty stuff after the play -- hit him like this, a certain way. It’s obviously being told just by the way they have been treating him these last couple weeks. A lot of shots to the head. It’s very disappointing seeing a guy like that take hits like that. One of those hits, god forbid, could be something very bad. I think the league needs to get on that and notice that it’s bad.”
Brisker noted that the Bears see teams on film trying to do little things to knock Fields out, and the league needs to take action.
“You can just tell, just from the other team," Brisker said. "Coach Flus, he doesn’t tell us to do anything like that. You can just tell just the way they hit him after the play. They just try -- you can just tell how they are trying to tug and how they are trying to do whatever they can to get him out the game. It’s obvious. It’s obvious. All them head shots. All of them late hits. Trying to mess with his hands and things like that. It’s obvious. The league just has to protect the quarterback and we’re going to protect ours at all times.”
Eberflus noted Monday that he let the official Sunday hear it after Campbell wasn't flagged for hitting Fields late on the opening offensive play. Eberflus said the Bears have a couple plays they are turning into the league as they hope to get Fields the same treatment that other star quarterbacks receive.
Fields has said he will keep asking the officials for the calls. Three weeks ago in Detroit, Fields was repeatedly hit either late or in the head, but no flags were thrown. Fields went to the officials to alert them to the late hits and other antics the Lions' defenders were engaging in, but his pleas were disregarded.
"That’s just what the Lions do — they play hard," Fields said after the loss to the Lions in Week 11. "We knew that coming in that week, the kind of effort and toughness and grit they play with. Their head coach preaches that. We kinda knew it was gonna be that type of game. I was talking to the ref and just asked, like telling him like, ‘Yo, just watch out. Heads up for a late hit’ or something like that. I guess I didn’t get any. Keep playing ball and control what I can control."
Fields has only received five roughing the passer or unnecessary roughness calls in the past two seasons. All of them came last year, with two coming in the season-opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
For comparison, Josh Allen has gotten four roughing-the-passer calls this season to lead the NFL. Lions quarterback Jared Goff received six last season.
Fields has received just one roughing the passer call and four unnecessary roughness penalties in his last 24 starts. Once again, all of them came last year.
The Bears will keep pleading their case to the league, hoping Fields gets the same respect that other quarterbacks do around the league one day.