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Justin Fields in attack: “We are not ready to play right now”


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For the second consecutive offseason, quarterback Justin Fields’ progress was measured in small steps: learning a new attack, calling plays correctly, making a jelly with a new coaching staff.

You’d think all that groundwork would make him anxious to put on the pads and play soccer wouldn’t you, right?


“Uh, no,” he said on Tuesday. “I’m not ready for the start of the season.

“I’m the kind of guy who would like to know I’m prepared. So, right now, I’m just being honest. We are not ready to play right now. And when that time comes, we’ll be ready. So, right now, no, I’m not ready to play. ”

It’s different from the blindly optimistic pabulum doomed this time of year, and it’s rooted in fact: a Bears offense based on pace and timing has yet to constantly find the beat.

The good news is the Bears and the Fields have time. There are almost three months left to the start of the season.

“Right now, they’re throwing a lot at us,” Fields said. “They are practically throwing us the entire playbook, which is good right now, but obviously there will be mistakes. But we’d prefer the errors to come quickly rather than later in the fall or [training] field.”

Fields sees the potential in coordinator Luke Getsy’s offense, but knows that, for now, it’s just that. The Bears’ takeaway-focused defense dominated the mandatory minicamp practice, keeping a theme this off-season.

“For me, it’s just not making the same mistake twice,” Fields said. “If you make that one mistake in one play, don’t do it again. If you eventually keep improving and growing, there will be fewer mistakes every day.

“And, of course, you’ll be right where you want to be.”

Getting the offense there can be painful. It seemed so on Tuesday.

“How do you answer? Bounce, “said coach Matt Eberflus.” We’ll all be down, right? Each of us. We’re all down in life. What do you do? Bounce. Get up, next play.

“This is what I want to see from all of our players, and it is important. We will all have adversity. You have to step forward and go to the next play. This is what I want to see from [Fields] and the rest of the team too. ”

There are times when the attack is triggered, said wide receiver Darnell Mooney, “but there are certainly many other moments that come apart.” It is a learning process that he and Fields are experiencing together. The two have held launch sessions in Atlanta this off-season and plan to train together again over the summer break.

“I don’t think we’re very comfortable with it because we’re still learning the real playbook,” Mooney said. “We are not there, but we are getting there”.

Eberflus offered an explanation. Off-season training has become almost like a passing high school championship, with no linemen hitting on either side of the ball. While the 7v7 work helps Fields and his pass takers get to the same page, it’s not real football. They are the players who run around in shorts, helmets and shells.

The plan is for the Bears’ hasty attack, led by David Montgomery, to open action passes for Fields. The Bears can’t practice until the end of July, when players can first strike with full pads.

“You don’t have that much play-pass in this setting here because you’re not really getting the ball rolling,” Eberflus said. “You can’t really focus on that. I think those windows will get clearer and more open once we have the pads inserted. So I’m thrilled to see it. ”

It will look different. The Bears have shortened Fields’ throwing motion, which he feels more comfortable doing with each workout. Eberflus said Fields “is getting better every single day” by working on his footwork and timing. He thinks he’s getting even sharper after working with Mooney and others during the hiatus.

“He wants to take the championship,” Mooney said. “It’s Justin Fields already. He wants to be the best quarterback in the league. He took the step to be there. I have incredible faith that he will be there. ”

On days like Tuesday, when the Bears’ attack struggles, it feels more like a leap of faith.

“Sure, it could have been better,” Fields said. “But that’s what tomorrow is for.”

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Written by Natalia Chi

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