Podcast: What’s the right plan for Bears QB Justin Fields going forward?

In the latest episode of our podcast, we discuss how the Bears should handle Justin Fields in these final five games.

With the Bears sitting at 3-9, it’s hard not to look to the 2023 offseason with five games left. But quarterback Justin Fields made a lost season worth watching with some spectacular performances. Until he got hurt.

Fields suffered a separated left shoulder in a Week 11 loss to the Falcons, and there’s a debate about whether the Bears should sit Fields for the rest of the season.

I’ll admit, the appeal of getting to watch Fields at some point during these final five games is strong. After all, it was exciting waking up on Sunday mornings knowing we’d get to watch Fields play football. That’s what this season has been all about — Fields’ development, and we watched him blossom into a star before our very eyes.

But the Bears have the second-worst record in the league, and they’re not contending for anything (outside a top-three draft pick). They already won this season because they found their guy in Fields. So why risk further injury to your franchise QB?

With that said, Matt Eberflus (and Fields, himself) made it clear that Fields will play when he’s healthy. That could mean he suits up against Green Bay. It could mean resting him until after the bye. Or it could even mean shutting him down for the season. We simply don’t know.

As the Bears gear up for a Week 13 game against the Packers, host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary) and myself (@AlyssaBarbieri) discuss the right way to handle Fields for the remainder of the season and preview Sunday’s matchup against Green Bay.

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Podcast: Bears might have to save Justin Fields from himself

In the latest episode of our podcast, we discuss why the Bears shouldn’t risk further injury to Justin Fields heading into Week 12.

The biggest question heading into the Bears’ Week 12 game is the health of quarterback Justin Fields, who suffered a separated left shoulder that’s left him in a bit of pain.

Fields has been a limited participant in practice this week, although he admitted on Wednesday that he felt pain on pretty much every throw and even on handoffs. While that could change getting closer to the game, it’s safe to say the consensus among fans is Fields shouldn’t play in Sunday’s game against an elite Jets defense.

This season has been all about the development of Fields and the future. This isn’t a team that’s contending; this isn’t a team that can surprise with a late surge. This is a team in the beginning of a rebuild that just found its franchise quarterback in Fields. So there’s literally no reason to risk further injury by playing him the week after his injury.

Fields is someone who exemplifies the meaning of toughness. This is the guy that played through cracked ribs and threw six touchdowns in the College Football Playoff. The same guy who took a beating throughout his rookie season in Chicago. Also the guy who needed to finish last Sunday’s game, even with his shoulder throbbing.

But, it’s worth noting, Fields told reporters Wednesday that he wouldn’t risk further injury — where he would miss more games — just to suit up on Sunday. After all, Sunday’s matchup against the Jets isn’t quite at the level of a trip to the National Championship.

As the Bears gear up for a Week 12 game against the Jets, host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary) and myself (@AlyssaBarbieri) discuss the right way to handle Fields’ injury and preview Sunday’s matchup against New York.

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Podcast: Justin Fields, Bears must learn how to finish games

While the Bears offense has been able to put up points, the one thing they haven’t been able to do is to close out games.

The Bears offense has improved drastically since the mini-bye week, where offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has adapted his scheme to fit his players’ strengths. Most notably, quarterback Justin Fields.

After averaging 15.5 points in the first six games, Chicago has averaged 31 points in the last month. They’ve scored 29-plus points in four consecutive games (33, 29, 32 and 30).

While they’ve been able to put up points, the one thing they haven’t been able to do is to close out games.

There have been several times this season where the Bears offense hasn’t been able to mount a comeback drive late in the fourth quarter. It was evident again last Sunday against the Lions, when Chicago stalled in their own end with a little more than a minute left. Fields completed 1-of-4 passes and took two sacks on that drive, which, after a failed fourth down conversion, stalled at Chicago’s 32-yard line.

But it also happened in Week 9 against the Dolphins, Week 5 against the Vikings and Week 4 against the Giants, where the common denominator is the Bears had opportunities to win or tie the game.

It’s been a point of emphasis for this offense — finishing games — where the reason is simple, lack of execution. For an offense looking to continue to improve, closing out games is the next step.

As the Bears gear up for a Week 11 game against the Falcons, host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary) and myself (@AlyssaBarbieri) discuss the next step for Chicago’s offense and preview Sunday’s matchup against Atlanta.

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Podcast: How the Bears unlocked Justin Fields’ full potential

The Bears have unlocked something special in Justin Fields, and we discuss on the latest episode of our podcast.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields is quickly developing into one of the NFL’s most exciting players, as evidenced by his record-setting performance against the Dolphins, where he rushed for 178 yards (most ever by a quarterback in the regular season).

But it’s taken some time for Fields to get to this point. Lest we forget the first six games of the season, where there were legitimate concerns about his development.

Then the mini-bye week happened, which allowed the Bears unlock Fields’ full potential. We’ve seen a more confident and comfortable Fields over the last three weeks, made possible by Luke Getsy leaning on what Fields does well, particularly his mobility.

We saw the beginning of that in Chicago’s win over the Patriots, where there were more designed QB runs and Fields was able to use his elite athleticism to wear them down.

While Fields has been impressing with his unique running ability, he’s also improved in the passing game, even if the stats don’t necessarily show it. He’s more decisive and confident throwing the ball, and it certainly helps that he has another weapon in Chase Claypool.

As the Bears gear up for a Week 10 game against the Lions, host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary) and myself (@AlyssaBarbieri) discuss Fields’ record-setting performance and how the Bears have unlocked something special.

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Bears Wire Podcast: Ryan Poles shows us he’s all-in on Justin Fields

On this week’s Bears Wire podcast, we discuss how Ryan Poles’ moves at the trade deadline show he’s prioritizing Justin Fields.

The Chicago Bears were quite active ahead of the NFL’s trade deadline, where they dealt two defensive stars in linebacker Roquan Smith and defensive end Robert Quinn.

But it was the acquisition of receiver Chase Claypool, for a 2023 second-round pick, that spoke volumes about the direction general manager Ryan Poles is taking.

The Claypool move showed that Poles is shifting his focus from prioritizing offense over defense, which is something fretting and new for Bears fans. For so long, this organization has prided itself on defense. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — there have been some dominating defenses and Hall of Famers a part of that history.

But in this modern NFL, the focus has shifted to offense, and it seems so has Poles’ priorities.

The addition of Claypool provides quarterback Justin Fields with a playmaker at receiver, during a season where wideouts (not named Darnell Mooney) have been underwhelming.

It also provides Fields and Claypool nine games to develop chemistry before heading into an important 2023 offseason, and it should help open up what’s been a non-existent passing game through the first half of the season.

Poles doesn’t make this move if he doesn’t have belief in Fields as this team’s franchise quarterback, which has certainly been helped by Fields’ impressive outings over the last couple of games.

As the Bears gear up for a Week 9 game against the Dolphins, host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary) and myself (@AlyssaBarbieri) discuss Poles’ moves at the trade deadline and preview the matchup against Miami.

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Podcast: Bears shock us all with all-around dominant win

In the latest episode of our Bears Wire podcast, we recap Chicago’s dominating win over the Patriots.

The Chicago Bears shocked the NFL world with a dominant 33-14 win over the New England Patriots last Monday night, where all three phases were clicking.

The Bears scored a season-high 33 points, where quarterback Justin Fields had his best game as a pro. Chicago rushed for 243 yards behind Fields, David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. They now have the best run game in the NFL. This is one of those performances that the offense can build on moving forward, where Luke Getsy finally found a way to utilize Fields’ athleticism.

Outside of a couple of plays, the Bears defense dominated the Patriots. They held New England scoreless in the second half and forced four turnovers. Chicago’s run defense also showed improvement, allowing just 70 yards on the ground by the Patriots.

Oh, and there’s the simple, yet impressive, matter of Matt Eberflus out-coaching the GOAT in Bill Belichick. I mean, everyone saw this coming, right?

As the Bears gear up for a Week 8 game against the Cowboys, host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary) and myself (@AlyssaBarbieri) recap Chicago’s dominating win over the Patriots, discuss the offensive line and preview the matchup against Dallas.

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Podcast: How much blame does Justin Fields deserve for Bears’ struggling offense?

In the latest episode of our Bears Wire podcast, we discuss Justin Fields’ part in Chicago’s offensive struggles.

The Chicago Bears offense has been a mess through the first six weeks of the 2022 NFL season. Well, outside of the run game, which is the second best in the league.

Chicago’s passing offense has been the worst in the NFL since the beginning of this season — they’re averaging just 122.8 passing yards per game — and it hasn’t shown much signs of getting better.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, including the offensive line’s struggles in pass protection, the receivers struggling to get separation or dropping passes and offensive play caller Luke Getsy. And, of course, quarterback Justin Fields.

While Fields doesn’t have much help in terms of a supporting cast, he certainly plays a part in the offense’s struggles. Fields has looked uncomfortable and indecisive for most of the season, and he’s played a role in the struggles in the passing game.

Fields continues to struggle with holding onto the ball too long and bailing from the pocket too soon. There’s a lack of trust with Fields, and it’s evident on the field. The one time Fields has looked comfortable back there was in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings.

The offense has a lot to clean up over the final 11 games of the season, and that includes Fields.

As the Bears gear up for a Week 7 prime-time game against the Patriots, host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary) and myself (@AlyssaBarbieri) discuss Fields’ part in the offense’s struggles and preview the matchup against New England.

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Bears Wire Podcast: Now THAT was the Justin Fields we’ve been waiting for

In the latest episode of our Bears Wire podcast, we discuss Justin Fields’ growth and preview Week 6.

The Chicago Bears suffered a 29-22 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5. But you wouldn’t know it with the optimism surrounding Chicago after the defeat, which has everything to do with quarterback Justin Fields.

Fields is coming off his best game of the season, which isn’t saying much, considering how brutal the first four weeks have been. But with Fields’ development the most important aspect of this rebuilding year, it was the kind of performance that goes a long way in the potential future of this franchise.

Fields looked the most comfortable he’s been all season against a good Vikings defense. He completed a career-high 71 percent of his passes (15-of-21) for 208 yards with a touchdown, no interceptions and a 118.8 passer rating, also a career best.

But it was about more than the boxscore. Fields looked comfortable, confident and poised, despite less-than-stellar protection and a limited receiving corp. He showcased his impressive skillset, where he made plays both with his arm and legs. The swagger we’d been missing for him all season was present.

This is the kind of performance that Fields, and this unimpressive passing offense, can build on moving forward. And they’ll have a good chance to do just that against a struggling Washington Commanders team — assuming the offensive line does enough to keep Fields upright.

As the Bears gear up for a Week 6 prime-time game against the Commanders, host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary) and myself (@AlyssaBarbieri) discuss Fields’ growth, discuss the offensive line, and preview the matchup against Washington.

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Podcast: Bears OC Luke Getsy’s play calling is rightfully coming under fire

In the latest episode of our Bears Wire podcast, we discuss the criticism surrounding Luke Getsy’s play calling and preview Week 5.

Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has come under fire this week for his conservative approach in calling plays. And rightfully so. Just look at Chicago’s inability to score touchdowns on all three red-zone opportunities in last week’s loss to the Giants.

The Bears offense is among the worst in the NFL, and the only reason it’s not the worst is because of their third-ranked run game. The passing game is the worst in the league, and it’s not even close. So it’s not really shocking that Getsy has leaned more on the run game early this season.

But let’s make thing one thing clear: It’s not all on Getsy. This is a group effort all around — coordinator, quarterback, offensive line, receivers, etc. But it’s also fair to criticize the first-time play caller for his conservative approach, especially in the red zone.

As the Bears gear up for a Week 5 game against the Vikings, host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary) and myself (@AlyssaBarbieri) discuss the criticism surrounding Getsy’s play calling, Fields’ development, and preview the matchup against Minnesota.

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Podcast: Has Bears QB Justin Fields’ development been on the back burner?

Are the Bears prioritizing winning football games over Justin Fields’ development? We discuss on our Bears Wire podcast.

There were high expectations for Bears quarterback Justin Fields heading into his second season. That despite an underwhelming supporting cast with questions at receiver and the offensive line.

So Fields’ rough start through the first three games of the season has certainly been alarming. The Bears not only have the worst passing game in the NFL — by a lot — but Fields himself has looked uncomfortable and indecisive. He certainly appears to be missing the swagger that fans saw at times in his rookie season.

There were times in last Sunday’s win over the Texans where the Bears showed a lack of confidence in Fields. Whether it was offensive coordinator Luke Getsy calling runs on third-and-longs or head coach Matt Eberflus taking three timeouts into halftime rather than give the offense a shot.

As my colleague Brendan Sugrue mentioned in his Week 3 takeaways, it certainly appears that Eberflus is prioritizing winning football games rather than Fields’ development.

Which, to be fair, is exactly what he should be worrying about. While Fields’ development is important, Eberflus’ priority isn’t simply Fields. His job is to win football games and coach his entire team.

But that doesn’t mean that Fields’ development isn’t taking a hit in the process. Fields looks like he’s regressed, and it’s up to Getsy and quarterback coach Andrew Janocko to get the young QB back on track.

As the Bears gear up for a Week 4 game against the Giants, host Ryan O’Leary (@RyanO_Leary) and myself (@AlyssaBarbieri) discuss concerns about Fields’ development, praise the run game and defense, and preview the matchup against New York.

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