Uh-oh: The Bears’ new offensive coordinator says Justin Fields works hard and cares. Sound familiar?
Luke Getsy sounds a lot like Matt Nagy talking about Mitch Trubisky.
Oh, no. Please, no. In the name of all that is good and right and true in this world, tell me that Luke Getsy didn’t say it.
Tell me that the Bears new offensive coordinator didn’t just say what someone should have told him never, ever to say. Tell me that Getsy didn’t say of quarterback Justin Fields what former Bears head coach Matt Nagy said of former Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky every day for four years.
That he cares a lot and works hard.
He didn’t say that, right?
Yes, he did.
‘‘There’s no one in this building that works harder than him,’’ Getsy said of Fields the other day. “There’s no one that cares more than him.’’
My eyes are vacant. My chin is resting on my chest. Not this again.
If Getsy had done his homework, or if someone in the organization had done his homework for him, he would have known that when we in Chicago hear a coach talk about a quarterback’s incredible work habits and enormous capacity to care, we reflexively think one of two things: Either the quarterback can’t hit a receiver with a pass from 10 yards away or the quarterback regularly looks up from the playbook and says, “No one told me I had to learn Sanskrit.’’
That analysis might not be fair to Getsy or Fields, but we’re dealing with so much scar tissue here that the merest mention of a player “caring’’ is enough to send us over the edge. Thanks to Nagy, Trubisky became the Care Bear. It didn’t take long for it to dawn on us that Nagy’s gushing about the quarterback’s non-physical attributes was meant to ward off questions about Trubisky’s poor performances on the field.
I imagine Getsy’s quotes have triggered a certain amount of concern among clear-thinking Bears fans – those of you who haven’t jumped on the Fields bandwagon just yet. You saw him play during his rookie year in 2021 and saw his statistics (seven touchdown passes, 10 interceptions, 73.2 passer rating), weighed all of it against Nagy’s sad offensive scheme, and aren’t yet willing to take part in the ongoing Fields lovefest around town. Getsy’s recent comments probably didn’t help your post-Mitch, post-traumatic frame of mind.
He also told reporters that, four months into the job, his rapport with Fields is “tremendous.’’ I know relationships are important in the NFL, especially between the OC and the QB, but why does everything have to move so fast? What happened to a first date, flowers and a goodnight kiss at the door?
Getsy’s thoughts on his quick bond with Fields were reminiscent of former Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s lightning-quick connection with Jay Cutler. I asked Martz during the 2010 training camp, his first with the Bears, if he was working extra hard at making their relationship succeed, given that both men were known to be headstrong.
“I don’t mean any disrespect towards you, (but) if you knew how silly that was and how easy things are between he and I — I just thoroughly enjoy his company outside of the football part of it,’’ he said. “He’s got a great sense of humor, by the way. He’s a little screwed up in his sense of humor like I am, so we kind of fit pretty good, I think.’’
He thought wrong. During a 2011 Bears-Vikings game, TV microphones picked up Cutler screaming at Martz.
“Tell (him) I said “f*** him!’’ Cutler said.
I’ve raised this question before, but it’s worth revisiting, mostly because it never seems to go away: Why do coaches reserve their highest praise for the player most important to the franchise? Why is it never the backup left guard who cares the most about the team, the offense, the locker-room camaraderie and the low water level of the Colorado River? Why doesn’t the strong safety’s work ethic make the coach think of a single mom juggling three jobs? Possibly because the backup left guard and the strong safety don’t butter the coach’s bread. The quarterback does.
I don’t know if Getsy believes what he’s saying about Fields, but I do believe he wants Fields to believe it. Somewhere in the Big Book of Coaching is a chapter on the importance of connecting with the quarterback and connecting in record time.
Nagy worked extremely hard at encouraging Trubisky, and the kid seemed to eat it up. In the end, though, it’s not about all the peripheral stuff. I don’t care that Fields cares so much. I care about whether he can play. Can he? I don’t know yet.
I’d ask him that question, but he’s probably too busy working harder than everyone else on the planet.