The vibe around Halas Hall is that the Bears want Justin Fields running the ball less and throwing the ball more一 including Fields himself. Not only will a more balanced attack help the offense as a whole, but it will help protect Fields from taking unnecessary hits. But when offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was asked point blank if he hopes Fields’ rushing numbers drop in 2023, he pushed back a little bit.
“I just hope we win games, whatever it takes to win games. I’m not really interested in whatever way that looks, other than we have a particular play style that we expect and demand.”
Fields’ incredible playmaking ability on the ground is a big part of what makes him great. It probably always will be. The Bears understand that, so designed quarterback runs aren’t going away.
“You know, run it when we need,” Matt Eberflus said last week. “When we're down in the red zone, third down we might need it at that point during those critical situations of the game. So that's what he's going to do.”
The Bears also don’t want to dull the natural talent which makes Fields shine. They simply want to tweak parts of his run game, so it doesn’t become a crutch and so Fields doesn’t deal with the same tired legs he experienced in the second half of last year.
“Most of that is a natural thing once you're in the moment, but decision-making, we're working on every single day,” Getsy said. “Timing and rhythm we're working on every single day. And lastly, the situation that you're in. Putting that all together, you're just increasing the football IQ so you know better when to take those opportunities and when not to, because there are plenty of times on film that he shouldn't do it, and even though it worked out for us, in the long run, there's a better decision. There's a better way.”
That could be going through reads more quickly, finding a checkdown, or just throwing the ball out of bounds to reset and get ready for the next snap. We’ve heard a lot about Fields working on processing and decision-making, and all of that will trickle into whether or not he runs the ball. As much as coaches emphasize it over the summer, at the end of the day they want Fields to trust himself to do the right thing when the regular season rolls around.
“There's times I can coach and say, 'You should do this,' but then his instincts tell him to do something and we have to trust that, too,” Getsy said. “I by no means will make that guy robotic. I don't believe in doing that with any player. But there's a way to refine it all and improve our decision-making and trusting our timing and rhythm and we'll take it from there.”