It’s been an offseason filled with changes, both big and small, for the Bears. From hiring a new GM and head coach and trading Khalil Mack, to signing a new fullback and backup quarterback, the Bears will look very different in 2022. Despite all the upheaval however, the key to the Bears’ future success remains the same: the development of Justin Fields. On Tuesday, Matt Eberflus said that’s exactly what he expects out of the young QB.
“The development of him for the second year should be a big jump,” Eberflus told members of the media at the NFL owners meetings. “It should be. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Last season Fields started 10 games, and appeared in two more. In that action, he only completed 58.9% of his passes, for 1,870 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. As a rusher, he added 72 carries for 420 yards and two touchdowns, with a whopping 12 fumbles. Clearly, there’s room for growth.
The regime has said before that they expect Fields’ play to improve just by putting him in a better position to succeed. That includes surrounding him with more offensive playmakers, tweaking the offensive line to better protect him, and designing an offense around his strengths. To do that the Bears have added wide receiver Byron Pringle and center Lucas Patrick. Ryan Poles also signed wideout Equanimeous St. Brown and another lineman in Dakota Dozier, but neither man is expected to start on offense. Eberflus has also brought in Luke Getsy to be the offensive coordinator, and Andrew Janocko to be Fields’ new quarterbacks coach.
But none of this means Fields won’t be expected to make improvements on his own, too.
“We’re looking for better technique, better fundamentals, better decision-making, better timing, everything,” Eberflus told the media. “He’s all on-board on that. He’s excited about where he is, and he’s been working his tail off. That’s what we want, just that big jump from Year 1 to Year 2.”