Everyone's been doing the calculus this offseason in hopes of finding the same answer: Justin Fields will elevate his play this season.
Ex-NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky is joining in on the math.
"I think he's gonna play MVP-level football," Orlovsky said.
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That's a daring statement to make.
Since Fields joined the NFL, he's won five of the 25 games he's played. He's failed to record over 2,300 passing yards in a season. His career completion percentage sits below 60%. And his decision-making and accuracy are constantly put into question.
Orlovsky broke down his contention, ordering his evidence neatly on ESPN.
"Before the season, I said that was the worst place for anybody in the NFL to play quarterback, was Chicago," Orlovsky said. "It was a bottom-five skill group and it was a bottom-five offensive line. So Justin Fields played good in the worst situation possible."
Fields, while not exemplifying optimal quarterback play through the air, did excel on the ground. He rushed for 1,143 yards in one of the most historic rushing seasons for a quarterback in NFL history. As a byproduct, he showed off his ability as a playmaker and his uncanny athleticism and speed.
His offensive line was subpar and the Bears' pass-catching group was undeniably one of the league's worst.
Yet, at one point during the season, the Bears averaged 30 points per game over a four-week span. That's a small sample size. But the fact that Fields produced flashes of success with the Bears offense last season gives Orlovsky the confidence he can succeed this season.
That's why the ex-NFL quarterback pointed to the roster adaptations the Bears made this offseason. DJ Moore, Darnell Wright, Nate Davis, etc. The Bears are undeniably improved on paper as opposed to last season.
Orlovsky's final point was about Luke Getsy's system and the overwhelming success his, and Mike/Kyle Shanahan's, offense produces for second-year signal callers.
"This is his second year in this system," Orlovsky said. "On average, when a quarterback plays in this system going into their second year -- Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garropolo, Matt Ryan -- the average statistic performance of those guys is 4,100 yards and 32 touchdowns.
"That is MVP-caliber football."
Convincing enough to be bullish about Fields in 2023-24?