The Sun-Times’ experts offer their picks for Justin Fields’ first start Sunday against the Browns:
Here’s hoping that Matt Nagy doesn’t bog down Justin Fields with an offense that deals in safe, short, boring passes — also known as “the Bears’ offense.’’ Let’s see the kid throw the ball down the field. Let’s see him run with it. Let’s see ups and downs and growing pains. Let him loose. Season: 1-1.
Baker Mayfield has a bum non-throwing shoulder from trying to make a tackle; Fields survived scrambling to recover a fumble. Both guys are exciting and tough. But only one is basically unknown and undamaged. That would be Fields. The known, wounded quarterback has this one. Season: 2-0.
Since 2000, 105 quarterbacks have been on the road when making their first NFL starts. Only a third of them — 35 — have left the stadium a winner. This was not the spot on the schedule where the Bears wanted to debut Fields. Season: 2-0.
Be patient with Fields. Yes, the Bears have been asking for your patience for 30 years, but this time it’s actually merited. That said, he’s got enough talent to pull an upset in his starting debut, and it’s hard to bet against someone with so much potential. He’s capable of pulling the upset. Season: 2-0.
The Browns are good at winning shootouts, but with the Bears’ rejuvenated defense and Fields likely to make his first start, this looks like a taffy pull that could go either way. Season: 2-0.