Justin Fields

Feet don't fail him now: How Justin Fields' footwork sets him up for success

The Bears have rebuilt Fields' footwork dating back to last summer

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On the whole, Justin Fields and the Bears passing attack looked sharper this year than it did around the same time last year. A lot of the improvements can simply be explained by Fields and many of the skill players around him having a full year under their belt in Luke Getsy’s system. A lot is also explained by Fields taking the next step in the development of his fundamentals, specifically his footwork. 

“If you're comparing it from now to last year I would say it's a big difference,” Fields said as the team wrapped up veteran minicamp earlier this week.

Understandable, considering Fields’ footwork was one of his biggest projects in 2022. The team altered several things about how Fields uses his feet in the passing game, down to changing up which foot he puts forward when taking a snap in the shotgun. 

Changes like that may sound trivial, but they’re monumental when it comes to Fields’ ability to not only make more consistent passes, but run the passing offense overall.

“Our whole offense is tied with my feet,” Fields said. “I’m just trying to use my feet as the clock in my head just to move from each route in the progression.”

To explain it another way, in certain concepts Fields should know exactly where his receivers are when his feet hit certain landmarks in his dropback. Of course defensive maneuvers like aggressive press man coverage can knock off that timing, but for the most part Fields’ feet help direct his progressions.

The improvement in the fundamentals is great, but it doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t translate to the field. The regular season is still several months away, but over the course of the early summer program practices Bears coaches on offense and defense said they noticed an uptick in Fields’ execution of the offense.

“You can see him going through his reads quicker reading the coverages on the snap and processing and where to go with the football,” said Matt Eberflus.

Fields’ footwork still isn’t perfect, and never will be. This type of fundamental work is never done for any quarterback. Similarly, the Bears passing attack is far from perfect, and never will be perfect. Over the course of OTAs and veteran minicamp we saw miscues, overthrows and interceptions as Fields and his playmakers got back in the groove of things. The Bears have yet to put on pads, so things will look different when defenders are allowed to play more physically. But Fields’ footwork and growing comfortability with his footwork have given the offense a better foundation to take a big step forward this year.

“It's truly amazing when you have that feeling going in,” Fields said.

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