Why Fields' mental toughness impresses Eberflus the most


No matter how unimpressive Justin Fields’ numbers look from the Bears’ Week 1 victory over the 49ers, there are plenty of encouraging takeaways from his performance in the team’s come-from-behind victory. He was able to navigate San Francisco's pass rush just enough to make big plays, like his 51-yard touchdown to Dante Pettis. He used his legs to turn some negative plays into positive plays, including drawing a few critical late hit flags. But the one thing that impressed Matt Eberflus most about Fields’ game was his mental toughness to overcome rough weather and an even worse first half.

“He was able to move all those things aside,” Eberflus said. “Figuring out how he was going to grip the ball better, how he was going to operate and then figure out the game as the game went on, and move the ball down the field. That’s what to me is outstanding, what an outstanding thing for a young quarterback to have that mental toughness, all of those things going on and to be able to laser-like focus in and get the job done. So to me, that was very impressive.”

Fields’ coaches and teammates have commended his intense focus and desire to win throughout his Bears tenure. They note his incredible work ethic, leadership skills, and how he remains the same player, no matter the circumstances. Fields says he’s always been that way. Those aren’t things he’s learned, or had to develop.

“Just try to keep that composure,” Fields said. “Because at the end of the day, I know my teammates are looking at me and I’m just trying to be that leader for them. Just show that I’m alright and I’m going to push them to keep going, and if we have a bad play, forget about that last play and move on.”

That short-term memory is the key for Eberflus when discussing Fields’ mental toughness, too.

“I think it’s the cycle of the snap,” Eberflus said. “We talk about that, and that’s an important piece for him and for every player on our team. So you just turn the page. You only play one play at a time, and you can’t play them all at once. And there’s going to be six or seven plays that come in the game that make a difference, and we don’t know when those are. So that’s why you have to be focused in, every single play, and I think that was in his mind, and that’s what he did the whole game.”

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