If a 12-game losing streak isn’t enough to turn up the heat, Justin Fields managed to turn up the heat just in time for a trip to Arrowhead Stadium.
The third-year Chicago Bears quarterback is this week’s example of being careful with your megaphone.
No, Fields shouldn’t have publicly thrown his coaches — including offensive coordinator Luke Getsy — under the bus during his midweek press conference. And it was not a good idea when he then performed a classic backtracking – going back over his words and maintaining that they had been taken out of context.
Here’s what Fields, 24, said when asked about his struggles with overthinking on the court amid an 0-2 start:
“You know, that could be coaching, I think. At the end of the day, they do their job and give me what I need to watch, but at the end of the day, I can’t think about it when the game comes around. I prepare throughout the week and then when the game comes, it’s time to play for free at that time. Think less and play more.
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This is a serious context.
Then again, maybe someone needed to say it. As much as Fields is savvy heading into a noisy place that is historically a house of horrors for a young quarterback, so is Getsy, in his second year running the Bears’ offense with dismal results.
Through two games, Fields has barely lived up to offseason statements about improving his game while operating with a beefed-up supporting cast. Fields is the eighth-worst quarterback in the NFL in passer rating (70.7), ranking 26th.th for success rate (60.6%) and, while his blocking wasn’t exceptional, he also contributed to the 10 sacks he absorbed (tied for third in the NFL) while sometimes holding down the sack. ball too long. . And one of his three interceptions this season sealed last week’s loss at Tampa Bay when Shaq Barrett returned it 4 yards for a touchdown.
Then there is the race. Fields is tied with Khalil Herbert for the team lead with 62 yards, but it’s half empty. After rushing for 1,143 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2022, he’s on pace to gain less than half of that — a clear signal that something has changed to the point that the Bears aren’t using the gift that makes the product Ohio State special and got him. a few weeks ago, he boasted that he was one of the five best quarterbacks in NFL history.
If Getsy, coach Matt Eberflus and Co. try to force Fields to work more from the pocket, it doesn’t work. And perhaps that’s why he talked about “coaching”, only to realize later that he could have been more politically correct in addressing the issue.
Still, it was rather striking to hear Fields admit to treatment problems. This is professional football. Quarterback is probably the most mentally challenging position in all of sports. Some players undoubtedly need a longer learning curve to develop. Still, Fields seemed pretty genuine in pointing the finger at himself, which lends credence to his other arguments.
If grabbing the offense is tripping up the franchise quarterback, however, the Bears coaching staff must recognize that and adjust accordingly.
Ryan Poles, the general manager, defended Fields in another attempt at damage control, insisting that the coaching staff doesn’t view the quarterback as a “finger-pointer.” I guess that fixes the problem.
What a disaster of a week for the Bears, who haven’t won since beating New England last October. In addition to Fields’ crisis, defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned due to ill health. And then came the reports that the Bears had more than $100,000 worth of maintenance equipment stolen during a robbery at Soldier Field.
All that, and the defending Super Bowl champions are next to face Sunday.
“My goal this week is just to say ‘eff it’ and go play football like I know how to play football,” Fields said. “It involves thinking less and going out on the field and playing with our instincts rather than, let’s say, with so much information in my head, data in my head.
“That’s when I play my best, when I play freely and be myself.”
Patrick Mahomes, reigning MVP, Super Bowl MVP and game-changing legend the Bears most infamously passed on during the draft, was asked what advice he would give Fields on how to proceed.
“Just trust your talent,” Mahomes said. “Trust your instincts.”
Mahomes didn’t say it but could have added: Good luck trying to come here with that to beat me.
Jerry Jones softens on the territory question?
While NFL players, including Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, have virtually unanimously expressed their preference to play all games on natural turf, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has certainly not changed his stance in favor of the status quo. But he wasn’t as definitive as he once was when recently asked about the turf-versus-turf debate.
In the past, Jones has spouted the NFL company’s line, alluding to data (disputed by the NFL Players Association) that maintains there is no significant statistical difference in injury rates between grass and the lawn.
Last weekend, Jones said: “We will continue to do what we have always done, which is evaluate and we are doing that. For 30 years, I have served on numerous committees that examine the impact of weed on injuries. This seems like an obvious answer, but it’s not. »
There are 15 NFL teams that play home games on natural turf. If Jones and others want more insight into why players prefer to play on turf, consider the perspective of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who plays home games at Highmark Stadium on a surface synthetic called A-Turf Titan.
“We’ve been pushing for this for a long time as players,” Allen said during a recent news conference at Bills headquarters. “The way our body feels after games on grass, after training on grass, is very different from how we feel on grass. You can show all the stats for this and that, but as players we feel it and we know it. I know our new stadium will have grass. I look forward to this day. But we have to find a way to get everyone on the grass.
A star is born
His name is Puka Nacua, and if you’ve never heard of the Los Angeles Rams rookie wide receiver until recently, join the crowd. Nacua, a fifth-round pick out of BYU, was handed the backup starter role while Cooper Kupp remains on injured reserve nursing a hamstring injury. And in two games, Nacua has done a pretty remarkable impersonation of Kupp, who capped his 2021 Triple Crown season by earning Super Bowl 56 MVP honors. Nacua, who leads the NFL with 25 receptions, set a rookie record in the NFL with 15 catches against the 49ers in Week 2.
The book on Nacua (6-2, 205 pounds) before the draft highlighted his toughness, and it shows at the NFL level with his propensity to break tackles. Of his 266 receiving yards (second to Justin Jefferson after Week 2), 111 were gained in yards after the catch.
“I think he plays with very aggressive hands, too,” Rams coach Sean McVay told reporters as he prepared for Monday night’s Super Bowl rematch in Cincinnati. “You can just see through the catch point and then through contact. It is heavy on contact. He has excellent contact balance. I think he made a lot of good plays without the ball in his hands as well as with the ball in his hands. He embodies this tenacity.
On Tuesday, the 49ers signed eighth-year veteran cornerback Anthony Brown. On Thursday, the 49ers released Brown. The 49ers re-signed Brown on Friday. What’s interesting about this series of transactions? Brown has started 69 games, including 12 in 2022, over seven seasons in Dallas. After the Cowboys lost All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs to a torn ACL suffered during Thursday’s practice, the possibility of a recently released Brown joining the Cowboys seemed logical. But in a league where it’s not uncommon for teams to glean information about their opponents from players in transition, that won’t happen now. The 49ers, who have eliminated Dallas in the playoffs the last two seasons and will face the Cowboys on October 8, have blocked this possibility… The difficult task for the Broncos is to try to avoid an 0-3 score in creating a surprise in Miami. officially got tougher Friday when star safety Justin Simmons was ruled out with a hip injury. It was going to be tough enough for Denver’s defense to keep up with speedy Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and now Simmons is out of action with key passer Frank Clark also out with a hip injury. “We will have a plan,” Payton told reporters. “We’ll be ready.”…If the Commodores, er, Commanders, can upset Buffalo at FedEx Field, it will mark Washington’s first 3-0 start since 2005, when fellow (and Hall of Famer) named Joe Gibbs was in the game. in the midst of his second tour of duty as the best coach the franchise has ever had.