Bears HC Puts Emphasis on Justin Fields to Fix Passing Game

After Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields said that the gameplan was for short passes.

On Wednesday, he sang a different tune and head coach Matt Eberflus set the stage.

Eberflus met with the media first, addressing a number of issues, noting that cornerback Kyler Gordon is dealing with a hand injury and will not participate in the first practice of the week. He also made it clear that there were opportunities for Fields to take more shots downfield.

“I don’t think it’s a schematic thing,” Eberflus said. “I just think it’s when you’re taking your shots down the field on a 50/50-ball, you gotta let it ride. If the guy’s really high on top of the guy – which I think was the case a couple times – so then it’s just the discernment of the quarterback. If he’s really high on him, then you just go head and go to your next read.”

Bears’ Matt Eberflus to Justin Fields: ‘You Gotta Let It Ride’

Justin Fields Play it Too Safe

Fields completed 64% of his passes for 216 yards and one touchdown, adding 59 yards on nine carries.

But he also had a bad pick-six and coughed up the ball twice, losing one fumble.

Critiques arose around the gameplan, with Fields’ initial comments lending credence to the idea that the Bears’ plan of attack was not aggressive enough. But subsequent film breakdowns have highlighted numerous examples of yards being left on the field by the third-year passer in Week 1.

“We certainly have some guys that can get some 50/50 balls. If you feel good about where the location is of the corner, we’re going to go on and send it up. …That just all part of the read, when we’re talking about taking shots down the field. … And we’re always coaching that.”

Eberflus would not say whether or not Fields’ anticipation was the issue. But he did say that they are still working on the “rhythm and timing” of the passing game.

Justin Fields Owns Conservative Passing Attack in Loss to GB

“I was maybe a bit too conservative during the game,” Fields said. “Definitely with guys like Chase [Claypool] and DJ [Moore] on the outside. If we have 1-on-1 on the outside, potentially throwing it up and seeing what happens. They’re great playmakers, and they can, most likely, come up with the 50/50 balls. Definitely want to give them more chances deep down the field.”

Fields’ passing chart looks like the plan was to attack Green Bay short.

But his admission suggests that we will see some of those missed opportunities become chunk plays – and maybe even touchdowns like his throw to Darnell Mooney in the endzone – down the road.

Bears Hitting Road Next 2 Weeks

That road includes trips to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2 and a visit to the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3.

Chicago was 1-7 away from Soldier Field last season.

If they really want to show marked improvement over last season, finding a way to get a bounce-back win over the Bucs – who got a big win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 – is a great way to start. From there, they can hope to have figured out their offensive woes enough to give Kansas City trouble the following week.