At this time last year, the Chicago Bears and quarterback Justin Fields were getting ready to install what were the bones of offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme.
While they produced exciting results at times, it did not always look pretty or help them win.
“I can tell the guys who were in the offense last year are way more comfortable this year with the playbook,” Fields told Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com, “and focusing on the defense rather than just the little stuff with the offense because they know it, they know the foundation of it.”
Bears ‘Way More Comfortable’ in Luke Getsy’s Offense
Justin Fields Has Weapons Now
Fields is understandably excited by the addition of D.J. Moore to the wide receiver room following the latter’s trade from the Carolina Panthers. It was a deal that saw the Bears drop out of the No. 1 overall pick.
However, his comments could also bode well for 2022 trade deadline acquisition, Chase Claypool.
Chicago sent the Pittsburgh Steelers what turned into the No. 32 overall pick for the 24-year-old.
He caught just 14 of his 29 targets for 140 yards in seven games (three starts) with the Bears. It was not what they envisioned from the former No. 49 overall pick (2020) even before knowing where the pick would fall. His catch-rate tends to be on the lower side more than some wideouts due to the type of routes he runs. But Claypool still posted the worst catch rate of his career in Chicago.
.@EmmanuelAcho’s initial reaction to the Bears and Panthers’ trade: “I love this for Justin Fields." pic.twitter.com/rRiUhF8Xel
— Speak (@SpeakOnFS1) March 10, 2023
Claypool was open about his frustrations with things not working last season and even had to be calmed down by Fields at one point.
But he stands to benefit more than anyone other than Fields from Moore’s arrival.
Bears Getting Offense in Order
Just as Moore has stolen the headlines, he should likewise take away the attention of the opposing defense.
Moore fell short of his fourth consecutive 1000-yard campaign and has never finished a season with fewer than the 788 yards he posted in his rookie season. A former first-round pick, Moore was selected No. 24 overall in 2018.
“I’ve known DJ for a little bit now,” Fields said, per Mayer. “I can tell he loves the game, he’s a hard worker and, of course, he’s talented. He’s proven that over the past few years playing with the Panthers. So, it’s great to have him; another weapon to add to our offense. He’s going to bring a lot of energy, a lot of leadership to the room. Everybody’s excited to have him, so it’s going to be fun.”
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Moore’s presence should have a similar effect on incumbent top option Darnell Mooney.
Mooney is still recovering from ankle surgery that cut his season short after 12 games. But he is just one year removed from his first 1000-yard season.
Bears Coaches Brag on Justin Fields’ Progress
In the sense that he makes everything go, the things coming out of Halas Hall about Fields may seem like standard-issue lip service during the offseason. But the Bears coaches have always taken a measured approach when discussing where Fields was in the process.
Now, Getsy sounds as confident in Fields as Fields does in the things that are now around him.
“I think the growth from…where he was at this time last year to where he is now – I think it just is light years ahead of where it was,” Getsy said on May 6 via the team’s YouTube channel. “And we feel like he has a ton more to grow going forward. So we’re excited to try to get the best out of them moving forward and keep working to where we think he can go.”
Justin Fields couldn't have thrown this any better. @justnfields @Equanimeous
📺: #GBvsCHI on FOX
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/P31SxnTZpJ pic.twitter.com/xiYc5aHzfF
— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2022
With the sixth-easiest strength of schedule this coming season, per Sharp Football Analysis, the Bears and Fields are indeed set up to outperform their abysmal (on the whole) 2022 season.