In the early stages of Bears training camp, the biggest takeaway has been a noticeable uptick in Justin Fields’ play and the efficiency of the passing offense overall. There have been some dead plays and pre-snap hiccups here and there, but for the most part the offense has gotten the better of the defense. Far fewer balls are hitting the ground at this time this year compared to the same time last year.
Part of that can be explained by the addition of DJ Moore to the offense. Even though we’re only on Day Two of training camp, the Fields/Moore connection has already been well-documented. The chemistry they’ve developed in a short amount of time is impressive.
Bears coaches have noticed Fields making improvements on his own, too. Last season, they turned his world around when they installed an entirely new offense and taught him new mechanics. A lot was new from the top level concepts down to minute details with his footwork. Now coaches see Fields becoming more comfortable with everything from the concepts to the techniques they've taught him.
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“It’s not one particular thing,” said offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. “I think it's on a whole, when you see the guy who’s comfortable with the footwork, with the progressions, with the communication in the huddle. You guys see him using a lot more cadence in the first two days, so all that stuff I think has been fun.”
One of the biggest concerns with Fields last year was his struggles with getting the ball out on time so that he stayed in sync with receivers’ routes. Leaky protection didn’t help, but other times it appeared he wasn’t throwing the ball on-time even when everything else looked ok. Again, the Bears see improvement in that department.
“That's pretty much 90% of what we do is that timing and rhythm and making sure that we have the ball where it's supposed to be and when it's supposed to be there,” Getsy said. “So we just keep drilling the heck out of it and then you take it to the team and 7-on-7 drills and then hopefully that carries over into your games.”
Overall, the ball is coming out of Fields’ hands faster and he’s delivering more accurate balls. Again, his connection with Moore is notable. After last year’s struggles across the board in the passing game it seems like cause for early celebration. Yet, Getsy made sure to put everything in perspective and pump the brakes before fans start buying plane tickets to Las Vegas for Super Bowl 58.
“We’re still without pads, so it’s all nice when you’re not getting hit and everything. When we start getting the rush and all that other stuff, we’ve got to make sure that we’re on point.”
The Bears will put the pads on next week, so we’ve still got some time before the hype train truly leaves the station.