Another week, more confusion.
Despite the Bears’ 27-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals last weekend, questions remain regarding quarterback Justin Fields. Does he have a long-term future with the Bears after this season?
It was the same old story for Fields this weekend. He had a mediocre performance through the air, throwing for 170 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He finished with a 65.4 QBR and 71.5 passer rating. However, he recorded nine carries for 97 yards and another rushing touchdown.
Should the Bears look for a new quarterback this offseason? A former Bears head coach likes Fields and added a caveat to the Bears’ biggest question this offseason.
“I love Justin Fields,” Dave Wannstedt said on NBC 5. “I know everyone wants to see more. It really comes down to that, and I’ve been living this for 40 years. Everyone wants to replace everyone that you have. My question is: who are you going to hire that you are sure will be better than what you have?”
That would, in theory, be USC quarterback Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye. There’s also Michael Penix Jr. from Washington and even Bo Nix from Oregon. But Williams and Maye dominate the conversation of college’s most intriguing prospects.
But are they better or will they become better quarterbacks than Fields?
Therein lies the question. Fields has shown Bears fans what he can do in 36 starts. Overall, his athleticism, pocket awareness, and playmaking abilities are evident. He has a strong arm, capable of throwing the ball deep, even while running.
But can he become a more effective quarterback? This season, he has the 22nd overall QBR and 23rd overall passer rating. The Bears want to see this escalate into above-average territory. But, at this point, he has three seasons to prove his improvement in this area. Does he deserve more time?
The Bears will have to decide this offseason whether they want to continue trying to develop Fields or move away from his services. Currently, the Bears have their hands on the No. 1 overall pick thanks to the league-worst record of the Carolina Panthers. They also have pick #8 themselves.
Should they use this pick to attract a new signal-caller? Regardless, Wannstedt has confidence in Ryan Poles’ abilities as a general manager.
“I think we just have to trust Ryan Poles right now,” Wannstedt said. “He’s done a really good job with these drafts. He’s done a really good job, in my opinion, with the trades that he’s brought in. So I think we have to trust him to give him a little more time and let him explore these young draft picks and see if they’re better. And if they’re better, then we need to make a change.
Remember, the Bears passed up the top quarterbacks in last year’s draft for Fields. The jury is still out on all of them, including Fields. But CJ Stroud appears to be a true franchise cornerstone with the Texans. And the Bears passed up the opportunity to recruit him.
Can they afford to give up the draft’s top prospects again to bank on Fields’ development?
It will be up to the Poles and Kevin Warren to answer this question.
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