Fields’ learning attack ‘ahead of the beat’ impressed OC Getsy originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
LAKE FOREST — Justin Fields’ growth will be the defining topic of the first year of Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus’ Bears rebuild.
The Bears went on defense with their first two picks in the 2022 NFL Draft and drafted just one wide receiver out of 11 selections. The Poles and Eberflus have said all the right things about Fields, and it’s fair to assume they believe the dynamic caller will leap forward in Year 2 simply by switching to offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s friendly system.
Getsy, who coached under Matt LaFleur in Green Bay, plans to build his offense around Fields’ strengths. Considering LaFleur comes from the Shanahan tree, you’d expect a lot of outsidecourt runs and bootlegs that get Fields moving and playing what the young QB does best.
Learning a new offense is a process, but Fields is further along than expected at this point in the offseason.
“We’re working step by step,” Getsy said Sunday after the final day of Bears rookie minicamp. “You know, we make sure we’re in control, in order to be able to master our craft, we have to master every step. So we’re fair, we stay on track. I think he’s ahead of the pace.”
Much of the conversation surrounding Fields’ growth this offseason has focused on the lack of talent among the Bears’ top receivers. Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown and rookie Velus Jones Jr. are expected to be Fields’ top four receivers going into the season.
Not exactly a bomb squad.
Getsy understands fans’ anxiety about the receiver’s position and its potential impact on Fields. But the Bears offensive coordinator sees this as an opportunity for guys like St. Brown to elevate their game. For Getsy, the biggest problem facing the Bears receiving corps isn’t a lack of talent but a lack of chemistry with Fields. It’s something we work on religiously.
“I think we’ve got enough guys on this team who’ve played ball a lot in the league,” Getsy said when asked about receiver issues that are hurting Fields’ growth. “I think it’s just that experience of playing with the quarterback and teaching him the body language, the signals you want to send him when you’re ready to take a break. You can see that happening every days, how much more comfortable these guys get.
“Justin is getting along with these guys. So, I’m excited. It’s getting better every day. I can’t wait to see where these guys can go.”
The most important thing for Getsy and Fields is to be on the same page as the quarterback and the play-caller. That’s where the offensive coordinator saw a jump from the young quarterback this offseason.
“The point guard and the quarterback have to have a great relationship, and that’s important,” Getsy said. “We have to be on the same page, always. That’s where I felt like he grew up, does he communicate so well with me now, the things he feels, the things he sees, and so that part has just been great, for a young guy to be able to do that.”
Poles, Eberflus, Getsy and Fields have a lot of work to do to rebuild the Bears.
There are several ways to design a successful reconstruction. But any architect will tell you that you need to nail down the most essential part if you want to complete the rebuild – the quarterback.
“I was super impressed with him. I really did it,” Getsy said of Fields. “There’s no one in this building who works harder than him. There’s no one who cares more than him. We got off to a good start. He really embraced this challenge.”
It will be a tough climb for the Bears to get back to legitimate playoff contention. It starts with Fields. Having a quarterback who is first in, last out sets the tone for the entire franchise and is a key part of creating a successful new offense.
So far so good for Fields and Getsy. But the real work has only just begun.
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