Bears focus on Justin Fields’ process, knowing ‘being close isn’t good enough’

Bears focus on Justin Fields’ process, knowing ‘being close isn’t good enough’

Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy coaches during training camp practice Tuesday. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times, Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Justin Fields can be harder to read than a Vic Fangio Cover 6 defense. 

Bears receiver Darnell Mooney has figured out his friend after more than a year. He can tell when Fields gets frustrated not by anything the quarterback says, but by the way his body reacts after a play. Fields won’t talk about his own competitiveness, but he’ll show it — Mooney still can’t believe how driven he gets to beat people while playing on a wall-mounted hoop in the quarterback room.

The Bears’ new offensive coordinator, Luke Getsy, is learning to read Fields, too. The best view comes in the film room after a tough practice. And there have been plenty of those thus far in training camp.

“It’s the intent,” Getsy said after Friday’s practice. “It’s the passion that you can just feel from someone when you’re sitting in the room with them and you’re talking through your responsibilities. It’s not like Justin is this outspoken guy that makes everyone know what he’s saying, but he lets you feel what he’s feeling and he communicates really well in that room. …

“He’s a competitive dude, man. You get in that film room and you can see the hunger, you can see the fight.”

The Bears hope that fight will carry him through the tail end of the Bears’ offensive installation. The unit grinded through the Bears’ longest and most grueling practice Friday with a focus on rushing drills not seen in previous sessions. Other days, though, the offense has been hard to watch — even with the knowledge that Fields is learning a new scheme and new teammates. It’s looked out of sync at times, and not nearly as explosive as the Bears want it to be.

“When we watch the film, we can see how close we are.” Getsy said. “But being close isn’t good enough.”

With more than five weeks until the season opener, the Bears have time. Getsy is focusing on the process — he used the word eight times in 15 minutes Friday — of making sure Fields is ready for Week 1.

“This is a process, right?” he said. “And we stress every single day that we’re a process-driven team — and our unit is the same way. And it’s all about making sure we get better every single day.”

Fields’ film sessions are as much part of Fields’ development as the on-field work. But the Bears need to see the strides on the field, whether it’s mastering protection adjustments or throwing to the proper hot route receiver. 

“The situational stuff is like, [Fields] can’t get enough of that,” he said. “You’re talking about what makes the great quarterbacks great, it’s just that experience in dealing with all the different situations and understanding them. 

“Also part of that growth: you take walkthroughs that we have at night and just go through situations … And you can see them showing up when we get out there on the field in practice.”

It’s one thing to do it in a practice, and another in a game. Even a game that doesn’t count. Asked what he wanted to see in Fields next week when the Bears host the Chiefs in the preseason opener, Getsy sounded a bit like former coach Matt Nagy, detailing the small things he wanted his quarterback to master.

“When you break the huddle you have a process,” he said. “You’ve got to go through that process to be disciplined to that process. Train your eyes. And then each play tells you to do something. Your eyes are supposed to go somewhere with each play. 

“We’re getting better every single day — and I want to see him go execute that.”

One day at a time.

“He knows it’s a process,” Mooney said. “And he’s loving the process.”

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