Bears Insider

Schrock's Bears camp observations: Justin Fields, offense sharp in red zone

After a week of uneven practices, Justin Fields and the first-team offense had their sharpest day in a while at Soldier Field

NBC Universal, Inc.

CHICAGO -- After a week of uneven practices, Bears quarterback Justin Fields and the first-team offense had one of their sharpest days to date Sunday at Soldier Field, where the Bears held "Family Fest."

Fields and the offense's best period came in the red zone.

The offense started in the high red zone at the 17-yard line.

After opening the drill with a timeout, Fields and Co. started their march on the end zone.

Khalil Herbert opened the drill with a 4-yard run before being wrapped up by Gervon Dexter. Fields hit Herbert for a 1-yard gain on second down to set up third-and-5 at the 12-yard line.

The quick curl over the middle has been effective throughout camp, so it's no surprise Fields went back to that well in a got-to-have-it situation. The third-year quarterback dropped back and quickly threw a strike to tight end Cole Kmet, who turned it upfield for a touchdown.

Next came low red zone work, but Fields and the offense only needed one play to find pay dirt.

With the ball at the 9, Fields dropped back and immediately felt pressure up the middle. He kept his eyes downfield while moving to his right and delivered a rope to Chase Claypool for a touchdown. Claypool got a step on Kindle Vildor on a left-to-right crossing route.

It wasn't all good for the first-team offense in the red zone.

On the ensuing snap from the 6-yard line, defensive end Trevis Gipson snuffed out a play-action bootleg to the right and sacked Fields.

The sharpest offensive day of the week continued in the "move the ball" period.

Starting at their own 26-yard line, Fields led the Bears on a nine-play, 74-yard touchdown drive.

The Bears opened the period with two runs and a short reception by running back D'Onta Foreman.

With the ball just shy of midfield, Fields faked a toss and rolled out to the left. He felt pressure from linebacker Micah Baskerville but stepped up and threw a strike to Claypool on a deep corner route to the left side.

A defensive holding by cornerback Michael Ojemudia and a catch-and-run by Claypool got the Bears down to the 19-yard line before Fields ended the drill with a 19-yard touchdown pass to DJ Moore on a crossing route with A.J. Thomas in coverage.

A final "go win the game" period gave Fields and the offense an opportunity to put an exclamation point on their best day of camp.

The Bears started with the ball at their own 25-yard line with 1:40 left and two timeouts. They needed a touchdown to win the game.

Terrell Lewis beat Braxton Jones on the first snap, but Fields got the ball out quickly, hitting Kmet for a gain of 12.

A quick throw to Darnell Mooney picked up 4 before a 10-yard catch-and-run from Moore set the Bears up near midfield.

On first-and-10 from midfield, Fields dropped back and hit Moore on a quick slant. The Bears' top target made a quick move to juke a defender and turn it upfield for a gain of 13.

After taking their first timeout, Fields took a shot down the left side for Claypool, but the receiver couldn't come up with a diving grab along the sideline.

A quick curl to Mooney picked up 5 on second down, and Fields threw a dart to Velus Jones Jr. for a gain of 7 to move the sticks.

The Bears used their final timeout after the second down completion to Mooney, so Fields rushed to the line to spike the ball at the 25-yard line with 25 seconds left.

Fields' pass on second down was batted at the line of scrimmage, setting up third-and-10 from the 25 with 22 seconds left.

Fields dropped back on third down and hit Kmet on a curl in the middle of the field for a gain of 9. With no timeouts and the clock ticking, Fields rushed to the line and got everyone organized. Fields dropped back and looked for Kmet up the right seam, but the pass was well-defended and fell incomplete, giving the defense one of their few wins Sunday.

“Today it was good," head coach Matt Eberflus said of the first-team offense Sunday. "There’s a lot of good operation there. I love the connections that we made with DJ and Clay. There were some really good connections there. And I like the way some of the runners were running. When we’re running behind the one line it’s a little bit different. [than] when you’re running with twos and threes. We have to have a good blend of that because I think we’ve been doing a good job of running the football during camp so far. And really the screen game has really picked up. We’re really doing a good job with all types of screens. And that’s starting to pay off for us."

Here are more notes from the Bears' 10th practice of camp:

-- Fields and the offense ended their day with a quick low red zone drill against the first-team defense.

On the first play, Fields looked left for Claypool on a corner route, but cornerback Jaylon Johnson read it and made a nice leaping interception. Fields bounced back on the next play, though. The offensive line gave Fields a nice pocket, and he threw a strike to Moore in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Moore ran along the back line, put his right foot in the ground, and made a nice catch while falling down.

-- The first-team defense continues to have its way with the second-team offense. Even down several starters, the ones won the day in the end of half, end of game, and move the ball period against backup quarterback P.J. Walker and the second team.

-- Rookie running back Roschon Johnson continues to show his physicality with the pads on.

During the first team period, Johnson picked up a chunk of yards with a physical run up the middle and shook a cornerback with a quick juke on the next play before stiff-arming a different defender after making a reception in the flat.

-- Rookies Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens had another nice day in pads. The rookie defensive tackles continue to generate pressure against Lucas Patrick, Ja'Tyre Carter, and Cody Whitehair.

-- Patrick left practice early Sunday. He entered the blue medical tent during a team period and left with an athletic trainer shortly thereafter. With Nate Davis still out, Carter took over as the first-team right guard.

-- Rookie wide receiver Tyler Scott had a better day Sunday. During the first team period, he beat fellow rookie Tyrique Stevenson on a deep curl route. Scott ran several smooth routes to create separation against Stevenson and Terrel Lewis throughout the day, but Walker was often unable to get him the ball.

-- Rookie linebacker Noah Sewell has shown good instincts while running with the first team. Sewell has good acceleration moving downhill and has not been a huge liability in coverage.

-- Defensive tackle Andrew Billings has been one of the standouts of camp. The Bears are pleased with how he reshaped his body in the offseason. That work has paid off, as Billings has been a load for Teven Jenkins, Whitehair, and Alex Leatherwood to handle.

-- Safety Jaquan Brisker, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, cornerback Kyler Gordon, defensive end DeMarcus Walker, guard Nate Davis, and linebacker Jack Sanborn did not participate in practice Sunday. New tight end Marcedes Lewis was present but did not practice. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is still away from the team but is expected to practice Tuesday.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us