Bears Duo Justin Fields, DJ Moore Connecting During Practice As Chicago OC Praises Fields’ Improvement From Last Season

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This is a big season for Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears. They finished last in the NFL in 2022-23, “earning” the No. 1 pick in the draft. They traded that pick to the Carolina Panthers for wide receiver DJ Moore and additional draft capital.

The NFL community is split on Justin Fields, it seems. Some, like myself, do not believe he possesses enough awareness to be a great NFL quarterback, despite elite athleticism. Others, though, think Fields can be an elite-level NFL quarterback.

Since being taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Fields has been up-and-down in his career. Though, his supporting cast often takes the blame for his struggles. Very similar to how the media talks about Lamar Jackson.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields looks for a receiver during an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions.
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields looks for a receiver during an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That case is going to be harder for the media to make for him this season. The team got DJ Moore in that trade. They took offensive tackle Darnell Wright with the 10th selection in this year’s draft.

Chicago has begun its offseason program and the team is happy to share their new quarterback-wide receiver duo.

Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy likes what Fields is doing during the offseason program.

“Where he was at this time last year to where he is now,” Getsy said, according to the Chicago Tribune, “I think he’s just light-years ahead of where he was. And I feel like he has a ton more to grow going forward. So we’re excited to try to get the best out of him moving forward and keep working toward where we think he can go.”

He’s right that Fields needs to grow a lot more than last year. The highlight reel runs are offset by the 60% completion percentage and 17-11 TD-INT ratio.

“Part of [his needed growth] is rhythm and timing,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said, also via The Chicago Tribune. “That’s the footwork with Justin. He’s been working on that — the quick pass, drop-back pass, movement pass, and he’s really made some big strides in that area coming in so far.”

Justin Fields needs to have a great season for the Chicago Bears

Again, though, the bigger issues with Fields relate to his awareness of the football field. Better footwork helps his ability as a passer, but until he starts understanding how to move down his progressions, he won’t reach that next level.

Fields is essentially a one-read quarterback. Sometimes he gets to read two. After that, it’s time to run.

Some examples of poor awareness:

Footwork is great. Football awareness is better.

No more excuses for Justin Fields this season.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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