Justin Fields

Roschon Johnson sees ‘playmaker' Justin Fields leading ‘special' Bears offense

The Bears rookie running back has been impressed with the weapons assembled at Halas Hall, starting with QB1

NBC Universal, Inc.

Rookie running back Roschon Johnson is no stranger to playing with elite, rare talent. He played alongside electric running back Bijan Robinson at Texas and now finds himself sharing an NFL backfield with arguably the most dynamic runner in the league.

It just so happens to be the guy handing him the ball.

Third-year quarterback Justin Fields electrified the NFL last year when he rushed for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns. Fields became just the third quarterback in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.

That dynamism has been evident to Johnson early in his Bears tenure, as has something else that makes the Bears’ young signal-caller stand out.

“I think he’s a very smart guy,” Johnson told NBC Sports Chicago on the latest episode of the Under Center Podcast. “You can tell he knows what he’s talking about. He’s very in tune with what’s going on offensively. He has talent, whether that’s throwing the ball or running the ball. He’s a playmaker. I can tell that just by practicing with him, and then just how smart he is. The playbook that we have is not an easy playbook. So, it’s him being able to go out and make certain reads and do certain things at a high level, it’s been very apparent from my time spent practicing with him.”

Johnson isn’t the only rookie who has been impressed by Fields. Wide receiver Tyler Scott feels a rare energy from his quarterback.

“I think his calmness, his calmness, the calm presence about him,” Scott told NBC Sports Chicago on the Under Center Podcast. “Just the way he kind of carries himself. He has just a calm presence about him. He walks around with a confidence about him. I think as a quarterback, that’s what you should have, you know, as far as when you walk into a room, you know, people should be like, okay, Justin Fields is here. I feel like that’s the same type of mentality that Desmond Ridder had when I was at Cincinnati the past couple years when he would walk into a room. It was a different feel when he walked into the room. It was a Desmond Ridder’s here type of feeling. And you have that feeling with [Fields]. When he walks into the room, it’s time to go to work. It’s all business.”

The Bears drafted Johnson and Scott in the fourth round in April, adding them to an offensive arsenal that has undergone significant changes in the past 12 months.  

Chicago’s offense lacked playmakers around Fields during a teardown 2022 season. Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet are reliable pass-catchers, but the ceiling for the offense was limited as general manager Ryan Poles stripped the roster down to the studs.

He started rebuilding the unit in November with a midseason trade for wide receiver Chase Claypool before landing star receiver DJ Moore in a March trade with the Carolina Panthers.

The Bears’ 2023 offense looks worlds different than the unit that averaged just 19.2 points per game last season (23rd in the NFL) and only 152.8 passing yards per game (32nd).

With a revamped offensive line, souped-up receiving corps, and a backfield with three capable backs, the Bears’ offense should have all the tools needed to carve defenses up like a knife running through Lincoln Riley’s undercooked steak.

That’s how Johnson sees it.

“I think we can be really, really special,” Johnson told NBC Sports Chicago. “We got a lot of weapons from Darnell, DJ, Justin, and then with the backs we have in the backfield. It’s a lot of different weapons that we have on the offensive side of the ball. I think it’s just really up to us with how well we jell together.”

Poles and the Bears have done everything possible to surround Fields with everything needed to make the leap his talent suggests this fall.

There is widespread belief in Halas Hall that the Bears have finally found a long-term answer at the quarterback position. A guy who leads with both presence and playmaking. A leader who will instill belief in a young team and put the Bears on the first rung of the ladder back to contention.

Johnson and Scott both see the potential in the offense. It’s up to Fields to make all the pieces fit together and ensure the Bears leave this debris-filled stage of the rebuild behind.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us