When Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields recapped his season with reporters Monday, he was requested about taking possession of the staff.
“I feel like it’s already mine,” he responded, noting how his teammates know what he needs to perform in Chicago and the way arduous he’ll work to get there.
Bears normal supervisor Ryan Poles needs it to be Fields’ staff too.
Fields made strides in his second season with the Bears and his first with coach Matt Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. He made unbelievable performs together with his ft on the best way to 1,143 dashing yards, the second-best dashing season by a quarterback of all time. He additionally made some lovely performs together with his arm, however these didn’t come constantly sufficient to dig the Bears passing recreation out of the NFL cellar.
So when Poles sat down for his end-of-season information convention Tuesday at Halas Hall, the third query was whether or not the GM plans for Fields to be his beginning quarterback in 2023.
Poles responded sure, noting that whereas Fields wants to enhance his passing recreation, the Bears are “excited” in regards to the route the quarterback is headed.
“He showed ability to be impactful with his legs. There’s flashes with his arm,” Poles mentioned. “Now if we can put that together, I think we have something really good.”
The follow-up query was apparent.
The Bears personal the No. 1 draft decide this spring, which provides them the best choice of a gaggle of quarterback prospects that features Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis — ought to they need it.
Would Poles think about taking a quarterback at No. 1 to probably supplant Fields?
“We’re going to evaluate the draft class, and I would say this: I would have to be absolutely blown away to make that type of decision,” Poles mentioned.
In the 9 months Poles has gotten to know Fields, the GM has seen a participant who’s resilient, has a development mindset, has taken possession of his standing throughout the staff and is hungry to achieve success.
But it’s broadly acknowledged throughout the Bears group — together with by Fields — that there’s room for development within the passing recreation after he accomplished 192 of 318 passes for two,242 yards with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 video games. The Bears had the most effective dashing offense within the NFL with 177.3 yards per recreation — and the worst passing offense with 130.5 yards per recreation.
Poles mentioned Fields and Getsy already sat all the way down to map out the place he wants to start out approaching his enchancment, and Poles expects to fulfill with employees quickly to go over that plan to assist Fields construct towards a extra constant efficiency.
He thinks Fields wants extra time to construct chemistry together with his playmakers, noting the higher manufacturing of these he’s most accustomed to, together with tight finish Cole Kmet. And Poles mentioned extra time working throughout the Bears offense additionally may assist Fields mentally in video games, which he famous as an space for enchancment.
“As a passer, just for things to slow down mentally and then be able to react and anticipate quicker,” Poles mentioned. “We also have to continue to build around him so that he can do that consistently as well.”
Poles has much more sources to construct round Fields this yr than he did in his first offseason, with projected salary-cap house of $118 million, in response to OverTheCap.com, a full slate of 2023 draft picks and the chance so as to add extra picks by buying and selling again from No. 1.
It’s truthful to query Poles’ strategy final offseason to including offensive linemen to guard Fields and playmakers to catch his passes. Poles determined to depend on numerous younger gamers and short-term veteran contracts on the offensive line. And he added cheaper large receivers to play behind Darnell Mooney earlier than buying and selling for Chase Claypool midseason.
Some of the problems in each teams contributed to Fields being sacked 55 instances, tied for many within the league with Russell Wilson.
But Poles mentioned Tuesday he doesn’t remorse the choices he made to help Fields.
“We used the resources that we had to the best of our ability based on what was there,” Poles mentioned. “That’s what I’m going again to when it comes to making sound selections. That’s arduous. I want there was an ideal situation the place you possibly can simply clear up every thing and get good. So I believed we made stable, sound selections to do this.
“But now looking at where we can go currently, where we have flexibility to do a little bit more, now the second piece is what talent’s there for us to bring in that can help move the needle to help everybody get better.”
Poles has a prolonged record of wants on offense and protection, and he famous he all the time begins with what he considers premium positions: cross rusher, offensive line and cornerback.
He didn’t point out large receiver in that group, however that doesn’t imply the Bears gained’t make upgrades. They hope to get Mooney again sooner or later this spring from an ankle harm that required surgical procedure, Eberflus mentioned. And Poles believes that regardless of a “choppy” begin with the Bears, Claypool will assist them transferring ahead.
Poles additionally was requested if including a real No. 1 receiver is essential.
“Obviously you would love a No. 1,” Poles mentioned. “I hope one of these guys on our roster — or if someone’s available — can develop into that guy. We’ll see.”
Fields mentioned Monday he absolutely trusts Poles to make the staff higher this offseason and mentioned he even would pitch in on recruiting free brokers if wanted.
But he’s additionally not taking his eyes off his personal work.
“My job is strictly get better, work on my skills at quarterback and ultimately get my teammates better,” Fields mentioned. “So of course I’m going to pay attention to who we get and stuff like that. But to be honest I’m just focused on me right now and everybody else that’s on the team and just getting better with those guys.”