Miller's glowing praise of Fields shows where Bears' QB is headed


Von Miller has made a career out of making life hard for the NFL's best quarterbacks on Sunday. The veteran edge rusher played alongside Peyton Manning, has bested Tom Brady in multiple playoff games, and dismantled NFL MVP Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers en route to Super Bowl 50 MVP honors.

Miller knows a great quarterback when he sees one. He can identify the rare traits and special abilities needed to take the league by storm.

When the best edge rusher of his generation, someone bound for a gold jacket, offers his opinion on quarterbacks, everyone's ears should open. After all, Miller has made a handsome living off his ability to stop the best of the best.

The Buffalo Bills edge rusher sees something special in Bears quarterback Justin Fields.

"Got a lot of respect for Justin Fields and the things that he's done," Miller said on the latest episode of his podcast "The Voncast." "He's only the third quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards. He's reading and if it's not there, he's gone. That's what you should do. That's what he should do, man. He's not going to spend a lot of time back there and just let guys tee off on him and sack him.

"They are playing to his skill set, and he's a great runner. He has all the tools to be, you know, one of the greatest quarterbacks ever in NFL history. He's doing what works right now, and those type of players and those type of teams are dangerous."

Miller's Bills face the Bears this Saturday at Soldier Field. The surefire Hall of Famer won't be on the field to try and stop Fields, though, as he's out for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

The Bears entered the 2022 season hoping Fields would take the expected Year 2 leap and cement himself as a franchise quarterback they can build around.

It wasn't smooth sailing early on. Put behind a shaky offensive line and with limited pass-catching weapons, Fields scuffled through the first six games while being pressured on 50 percent of his dropbacks.

A mini-bye reevaluation of the offense saw the Bears start to play more toward Fields' strengths with the implementation of more quarterback-designed runs. Letting Fields use his legs to create helped get the second-year signal-caller in a better rhythm in the pass game and took some pressure off an offensive line still searching for continuity.

Since the Bears' Week 7 win over the New England Patriots, Fields ranks as one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL. His Expected Points Added per Play and Completion Percentage Over Expectation put him seventh in efficiency behind Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Dak Prescott, Joe Burrow, Jared Goff, and Tua Tagovailoa.

Fields has also rushed for 718 yards since Week 7 and, as Miller noted, joined Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

Fields' growth as a quarterback is the result of the constant stacking of good days on the practice field and tireless film study.

The 23-year-old quarterback can feel the difference now on Sundays. He can't perfectly describe what the difference is, just that things are different now, calmer, than they were when the season began.

"Just a certain way of like, you got to kind of feel the flow of the game," Fields said. "It’s hard to explain it, but once you feel it, I don’t know. I’ll try to put up some words at home and maybe explain it to y’all one day. But it’s kind of just like a feel to where you are just sitting back there and you are just comfortable with the game and with the offense and how the game is going.”

While the Bears have been focused on the daily, incremental growth with Fields, the change in the quarterback from Week 1 to Week 15 is evident.

"When we're getting ready to play Green Bay [in Week 13], we got back and watch that first game [in Week 2], and you can just see a different player," Bears quarterback coach Andrew Janocko said. "That's a good thing. You see the difference in the player between the two tapes when you put it on. That means we're going in the right direction with him."

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Fields' Year 2 rise has both he and the Bears positioned for future success as long as the other pieces fall into place.

Ever since he entered the league, there has been a lot of chatter surrounding Fields and his prospects to be an NFL star. He was dealt a bad hand with a lame-duck head coach in Matt Nagy during his rookie season and had an uphill climb behind a sketchy line to start Year 2.

But Fields has overcome those obstacles and is starting to look like the generational quarterback prospect who was promised when he popped onto the scene as a high school star in Georgia.

With each passing week, Fields gets more comfortable and his journey upward accelerates.

You don't have to take my word for it. Listen to Miller, a guy whose Hall of Fame bust is already being molded and who knows greatness when he sees it.

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