Justin Fields has shown he deserves to be the Bears’ starting QB in 2021

Justin Fields is ready to start in the NFL. Photo from USA Today.

The Justin Fields era has begun in Chicago and the Bears shouldn’t look back.

After the first nightmare start, Fields bounced back in Week 4 with an impressive performance in a 24-14 victory over the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.

Justin Fields analysis

Fields finished the game by completing 11/17 passes (64.71% completion rate) with 209 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception and 82.7 QBR. However, the most indicative statistic for fields performance was his yards per attempt (Y/A) of 12.24 yards and average depth of target (aDOT) of 13.6 yards. When it comes to Justin Fields, the name of the game is vertical.

Verticality and speed

Against the Cleveland Browns, Justin Fields’ Y/A was a pitiful 3.40 yards. Against the lions, Y/A leapt into the fields for an impressive 12.24 yards. That’s roughly an increase of 10 yards per throw. Y/A Fields was the highest rated of all quarterbacks in Week 4. Just look at the rookie pass chart.

Let’s take a look at some of Fields’ best throws from Sunday and why Matt Nagy and the Bears shouldn’t bring back Andy Dalton’s first job.

In this clip, we see bears and fields back up near their end zone. Outside receiver, #11, Darnell Mooney, gets a step on the black back corner.

Fields recognizes this immediately, but instead of snatching on throw, Fields shows a veteran level of poise and freezes deep security with his eyes by casting a slight look left before letting him explode into a disoriented pocket.

The next section shows the best of the fields.

In college, Ohio State Buckeye excelled at throwing sidelines and taking advantage of field width. Here, Fields takes a three-step drop, locks onto his target and allows the ball to rip to the opposite split. This is a throw that only a few quarterbacks in the NFL can make.

The concept used by the bears in the previous passage is known as the “989” concept. In short, the outboard receivers operate on cascading trails, the narrow end extending either deep into the road or crisscrossed with the rear tail providing traffic and screening protection.

This is one of Nagy’s favorite concepts of field calling and it’s easy to see why. He has arm strength and ball speed to benefit from play.

Another deep completion, this time for Allen Robinson, came near the end of the game.

Fields retracts the gameplay action and immediately reads that black is in Cover 2 copy.

As a result, Fields clings to Robinson and puts the ball into what Raiders coach John Gruden calls, a “turkey hole”; The soft spot between the corner and safety cap 2.

This is one of the toughest throws to make in the NFL but Fields has already proven his arm can do it.

Bears are making the right calls

It’s good to see the Bears coaching team tailor their calling according to the strengths of the rising quarterback. In college, he averaged fields an aDOT of 10.7 yards (tied for the first of 2021 rookie quarterback with Trey Lance) and average depth of completion (ADOC) of 8.6. That’s what Fields does. This is his specialty and what he excels at.

While Fields may suffer from the fast game underneath, it is much easier to teach a talented gunslinger to rein in his game and keep the chains moving than it is to teach the game director to allow them to rip and throw deep.

At the end of the day, you can’t teach talent, and Justin Fields has it in abundance.

There will be speed bumps along the way, especially this season with Fields being a rookie and Nagy still in charge.

But whether it’s Matt Nagy or his replacement making use of the skills at the Apprentice’s disposal, Fields is better off letting his talent go to waste.

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