Do new Bears coach, GM need to be Justin Fields believers? Absolutely

Do new Bears coach, GM need to be Justin Fields believers? Absolutely

Fields had a 73.2 passer rating in his rookie season. | Getty

If the new coach isn’t on board with Fields, he’s going to have problems. And if the new coach has problems, the Bears have problems.

The list of Bears chairman George McCaskey’s remarks in his press conference last week that were weird, confusing or unnecessarily dodgy is long and wearying.

It was such a ham-handed back and forth that at one point McCaskey struggled to give a concrete commitment to Justin Fields as the team’s quarterback of the future. After repeated pressing on whether it was a prerequisite for general manager and coach candidates to believers in Fields, McCaskey broke from the pocket and sprinted for the sideline.

The best he could muster about potential candidates’ confidence in Fields was, “We want to know what their plan is with the quarterback position for the Bears.”

It was his most bizarre response of the day because it was probably the easiest question he faced. Of course the new administration must be pro-Fields. Otherwise there’s no point in even applying for these two jobs.

When former general manager Ryan Pace traded the 2022 first-round pick to move up and take Fields at No. 11 last year, he put the franchise all-in on Fields. He’ll be with the Bears for at least three more seasons.

That’s about how long a coach typically gets to prove himself, so the new guy is in trouble if he’s not on board with Fields. And if he’s in trouble, the Bears are in trouble.

There’s no off ramp like the Cardinals had when they drafted Josh Rosen No. 10 overall in 2018 and bailed on him a year later to take Kyler Murray No. 1. There’s no Murray-type prospect in the upcoming draft, and the Bears don’t have a first-round pick anyway.

So the Bears don’t need to hear a plan for the quarterback position. They have their quarterback. What they need to hear from a prospective general manager or coach is how they plan to facilitate Fields’ success.

The latest on those concurrent searches, by the way, was that the Bears scheduled a second interview with Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for next week and received word from Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds that he is no longer pursuing the job, NFL Network reported.

In a perfect world for the Bears, candidates would be climbing over each other just to get the chance to build a team around Fields and coach him.

That’s what happened last year when the Chargers had an opening that was attractive because of quarterback Justin Herbert’s rookie season, and the Jaguars job is seen as a golden opportunity because everyone still projects greatness for former No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence.

Fields showed promise as a rookie, but it’s impossible to make a definitive determination on how good he is because of the very problems the Bears are trying to solve: Pace hindered him with an ill-conceived roster, and former coach Matt Nagy clouded the view of Fields from the start.

Their errors are the reason no one knows whether Fields is the answer.

Pace put Fields behind a shaky offensive line, he didn’t have a surefire tight end and he was asked to play in an offense that had already fallen flat.

On Nagy’s end, he insisted on Andy Dalton as his starter and put Fields on a slower track with the assumption that he’d sit on the bench all season. He seemed completely unable to maximize his skillset, which was evident in his starting debut. That game plan was so atrocious that Nagy surrendered play calling to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor days later.

If the Bears are going to continue entrusting Fields to people that are unable or unwilling to support him, the mess they’re in is going to get a lot worse.

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