Justin Fields officially made his NFL debut this past Saturday for the Chicago Bears in their first preseason game and he did not disappoint. While it is only preseason and the results don’t really matter, player performance does, especially for rookies. Though he slipped a bit, Fields was clearly one of the best players in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has now started his quest to prove that allowing him to fall all the way to being the fourth quarterback selected was a huge mistake.
Fields was impressive in his first NFL action while leading the Bears to a 20-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins. He completed 14 of his 20 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown while also adding 33 yards and another touchdown in the rushing game. His athleticism and competitiveness shined brightly as he looked every bit the part of a promising quarterback prospect.
Justin Fields College Career
In two years as the starter at The Ohio State University, Fields was an absolute superstar. He accounted for an excellent stat line while leading the Buckeyes to the postseason both years. Combined, he completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 5373 yards with 63 touchdowns and only nine interceptions.
Additionally, he rushed for 867 yards and another 15 touchdowns. For his efforts, he was awarded the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award in both 2019 and 2020 while also finishing in the top ten for Heiman Trophy voting in both seasons as well.
QB Competition in Chicago
The quarterback room in Chicago is an odd one. In addition to their highly drafted rookie, they have two long-time veterans on their roster in Nick Foles and newly signed Andy Dalton. Foles was unimpressive in his nine games for the Bears last year, throwing for 1852 yards with just ten touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Dalton was not much better, filling in for the injured Dak Prescott on the Dallas Cowboys, passing for 2169 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions across 11 games played. At this point in both of their careers, it’s clear exactly what they are as a player. They are respectable backup options but should in no way be the answer at quarterback that any competing team is looking for.
The Case For Fields
Despite abysmal quarterback play from Foles and Mitchell Trubisky last season, the Bears still managed to make the playoffs. This is proof that they have a very solid roster that is only missing a QB to lead them. Allen Robinson is a superstar at wide receiver, running back David Montgomery had a breakout season last year, and their defense ranked in the top half of the league in both yards and scoring.
In fact, their defense likely would have ranked much higher if their offense could have sustained better drives. The offense ranked a terrible 31st in the NFL with a 34.6 third-down conversion rate.
What Fields brings to the position that neither Dalton nor Foles does is his elite athleticism. He can scramble and make the “off-schedule” type of plays with his legs. Also, he has a more accurate deep ball than both of them.
This will add a whole new dimension to a very vanilla Bears offense that ranked in the bottom ten in total yards, passing yards, and scoring. His dynamic dual-threat talents will help improve their production in every way. Even if he has a rocky rookie season, it can’t be all that much worse than what the quarterbacks for the Bears did last year.
Start Justin Fields!
It’s not a matter of if but a question of when Justin Fields will be given the starting job in Chicago. All things considered, especially based on raw talent, his game gives the Bears the best chance to win games now. For a team that expects to once again compete for a playoff spot, this is absolutely crucial.
The last thing they want to do is get in an early hole to start the season and play catch up the rest of the way. Finally, when looking at their regular season schedule, they have some favorable matchups in the first four weeks of the season including home games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions. These will serve as solid warm-ups to the NFL game and are one of the many reasons why Fields should be the Day One starter.