clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The comeback kid: Bears rookie QB Justin Fields is ready, not rattled

Every indication is that Fields is poised to move on from a brutal game last weekend. It’s all talk until he delivers on the field, but he’s in a good place mentally heading into the Lions game.

Fields is off to a rough start with a 39.9 passer rating and just 46 yards rushing.
AP Photos

Nobody needs to worry about rookie quarterback Justin Fields after the debacle against the Browns.

There’s a long list of concerns for the Bears as they get ready for a high-stakes game Sunday against the Lions, including whether coach Matt Nagy finally can get the offense together after an abysmal first three weeks, but Fields will be fine.

‘‘He continues to show me how composed and calm he is under pressure,’’ running back David Montgomery said. ‘‘That’s a rare thing to find in somebody so young. Even with this week, beyond the naysayers or what everyone else is saying outside the building, he’s still composed. That’s the biggest thing you see.’’

The main thing Fields saw in his starting debut was the pale blue sky in Cleveland after the Browns planted him on his back with nine sacks. It was as bad as the offense has looked under Nagy, which is saying something, and the best thing for Fields is to get him back out there against a lesser opponent and to make adjustments.

Nagy still is holding out hope that Andy Dalton will be healthy enough to return from the bone bruise in his left knee, but he hasn’t announced a starter. Fields has been a full participant in practice despite an injured thumb on his throwing hand, while Dalton was limited Wednesday and Thursday. Nagy is expected to decide after practice Friday.

If it’s Fields, there likely will continue to be rookie mistakes. But at least he’s poised to bounce back from getting hit on more than half his drop-backs.

He played through bruised ribs to beat Clemson in the College Football Playoff while at Ohio State last season and was unfazed by a vicious hit that knocked his helmet 15 yards down the field during the preseason. He’s not the type to come out fearful and hesitant if the Bears go back to him Sunday.

‘‘I don’t think it’s going to travel with him,’’ offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. ‘‘This is a tough guy, physically and mentally. So I’m not concerned.

‘‘I loved how he practiced [Wednesday]. . . . That was positive evidence that even though we had bad, he’s going to turn it to good by learning from it.’’

That’s a great sign for the Bears, who rank 32nd in yardage, 31st in scoring, 30th in passer rating, 28th in third-down conversions and 14th in yards per carry. While rookie struggles are inevitable, Fields has the potential to send a jolt through the offense with his elite speed and deep-ball accuracy.

There were snapshots of that in the first two games, but there was barely anything worth highlighting from the 26-6 loss to the Browns. Fields completed 6 of 20 passes for 68 yards and landed at a 41.2 passer rating. He had only three rushes for 12 yards.

Fields was shaken by that experience — he said it gave him goosebumps because he was so uncomfortable reliving it in his postgame news conference — but he was already eager to get on to the Lions game and get another chance.

‘‘You have these days,’’ he said. ‘‘You’ve just got to come back better. . . . I want to get back and work harder than ever.’’

That’s all talk until he delivers better results on the field, but it’s a good starting point. He’s not rattled; he’s ready.