Bears QB shuffle: Justin Fields limited, Trevor Siemian sits out practice

The Bears added a new quarterback to their roster and subtracted another one from practice Wednesday, but Justin Fields remained the center of attention.

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Bears quarterback Justin Fields runs against the Falcons.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields runs against the Falcons.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Bears added a quarterback to their roster and subtracted another one from practice Wednesday, but Justin Fields remained the center of attention.

Ten days after he separated his left shoulder and suffered partial ligament damage, Fields did Wednesday what he did all last week: practiced in a limited manner. 

He started from a better place than he did a week ago, though — he’s in less pain and has more strength in his shoulder.

In the portion of practice open to the -media, Fields handed off with his left hand and appeared comfortable while throwing. 

He even participated in a drill in which teammates tried to punch the ball out of the crook of his left arm.

Those activities keep the door open, at least, for him to start Sunday against the -rival Packers.

Fields said he’s “just feeling better each and every day,” but, in stark contrast to counterpart Aaron Rodgers, made no grand declaration that he’d start Sunday.

“If I feel like I can help my team win, help my team score, then I’m going to go out there and play,” Fields said.

If he doesn’t, the Bears are in trouble.

Backup Trevor Siemian sat out of practice with the same oblique injury that put his starting status into question an hour before the loss to the Jets last Sunday. 

Third-stringer Nathan Peterman returned to the practice squad Monday, though he could return to the active roster at the end of the week. He split starter snaps with Fields on Wednesday.

The Bears also signed quarterback Tim Boyle off the Lions’ practice squad, banking on his familiarity with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy dating to their Green Bay days. Boyle figures to be on the game-day roster Sunday only if Fields and Siemian are ruled out. 

Even though he started three times for the Lions last season — and Peterman hasn’t started at all since 2018 — Boyle would likely be a backup Sunday. Peterman knows the playbook.

The Packers, though, didn’t seem concerned about any of those three.

“I think we’d be foolish not to plan for Justin, because if you don’t, you will get gutted,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Wednesday. “The majority of your plan is directed towards him being in there. With him not playing last week, there’s another week to get healthy and rest.

“So it’s a guessing game, but I think you’ve got to hedge your bet in that area.” 

Eberflus continued to describe Fields as “day-to-day,” saying he’d play if he meets the team’s three requirements: for the quarterback to feel strong and mobile, for the medical staff to clear him for a game and for Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles to sign off. Fields cleared none of those hurdles last week. 

Still, he claimed he didn’t know until Sunday that he wouldn’t play; he said he “just didn’t feel comfortable” during warmups. The only warmups he did on the MetLife Stadium field before the game, though, were very light.

Fields said a lot of his optimism for this week would depend on how he felt during practice.

“He looked good. I’ll keep it at that,” tight end Cole Kmet said with a smile after -practice.

Receiver Chase Claypool has noticed a “type of resilience that you don’t get from every quarterback” in Fields.

“He is getting beat up, and he’s bouncing back on his feet every single time,” he said. “I think that just shows the kind of leader he is because he wants to see his team win and do well. He’s a big part of that. But he also knows he has to be smart. There’s a give-and-take with that.”

Whenever he returns, the Bears know they have to keep Fields safe — even if that means calling fewer runs for him.

“I’ve said that for weeks since he’s started to come on — we’ve always got to be protective of the quarterback,” Eberflus said. “We got to keep him safe. He’s got to keep himself out of harm’s way. The situation this week is no different.

“Certainly, we look at all that every single week. That’s our quarterback; we want to make sure he’s safe.”

Both Eberflus and Fields denied that the Bears’ upcoming bye would play a role in whether the quarterback returns this week. If he were to sit against the Packers, Fields would have three open Sundays between his injury and a potential return Dec. 18 against the Eagles.

Fields said that it was “not that difficult” to weigh what was in his best interest.

“I have a lot of people that are giving me good advice — the trainers, the coaches, people at home,” he said.

 “It makes my decision easier looking at the long term.”

Contributing: Mark Potash

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