No Lion: Bears’ ‘O’ may not be O so bad

It was only a preseason game, but Justin Fields & Co. might not be as horrible as Mike Martz says.

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Coach Matt Eberflus had to be content with Justin Fields’ performance Saturday against the Browns.

Coach Matt Eberflus had to be content with Justin Fields’ performance Saturday against the Browns.

Nick Cammett/Getty Images

If you’re a quarterback, and you come out of a game with a passer rating of 146.9 — perfect being 158.3 — you’ve got the world by the horns.

That would be Justin Fields today.

The high won’t last. We’re talking about a preseason game against the Browns, against some defenders who already might be enjoying their new jobs at Walmart.

But completing 14 of 16 passes for 156 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions — in the first half — that’s outstanding, even if it’s against manikins. 

If Fields, and the Bears’ offense, can perform anywhere close to that level in real games, it would be a welcome shocker. Let’s reiterate: Preseason games are basically con jobs, glorified practices that people pay to watch and coaches use to find out whom they need to cut.

Still, what former Bears offensive coordinator-turned-TV critic Mike Martz wrote on something called ‘‘The 33rd Team’’ blog would make you believe Fields couldn’t complete a pass if he were dropping the ball into a dead dinosaur’s mouth.

“Fields is a guy that makes a lot of mistakes and is not particularly accurate at times,’’ Martz wrote. “He’s not a quick read-and-react guy, and he’s on a horrendous team.’’

Maybe you’ve seen the rest, but it’s worth reposting. 

“I don’t know if I’ve seen an offense that bad in talent since the 0-16 Detroit Lions [in 2008]. They just don’t have anybody there. . . . It’s a bad football team right now.’’

Martz, a onetime offensive “genius,’’ wasn’t done with his Fields critique.

“I also have questions about whether he can really react fast,’’ he wrote. 

And then the finale: “If he got to someplace like San Francisco, maybe it would work out for him, but I don’t see it working out at all in Chicago.’’ 

By all accounts, the Bears are expected to be terrible. But comparing their offense to the Lions’ of 14 years ago is cold, indeed. 

That Detroit team got just about everybody in the organization fired, including general manager Matt Millen and coach Rod Marinelli. According to The Ringer, 12 of the 45 players who started a game for the 2008 Lions never played another snap in the NFL.

But here’s where Martz might be a little off. It wasn’t the Lions’ offense that doomed the pathetic 2008 team, it was the defense. Wide receiver Calvin “Megatron’’ Johnson actually led the league in touchdown catches that season with 12. 

But the defense, oh, boy, it was special. The “D’’ gave up 517 points, the second-most all time behind only the 1981 Baltimore Colts. With that kind of help, your offense, any offense, is sunk.

There is no Megatron on the Bears. But there is a Darnell Mooney, who had more than 1,000 receiving yards last year. And the running backs might possibly turn out to be average. And tight end Cole Kmet always seems about one Travis Kelce move away from stardom.

The offensive line? Yes, scary. But you never know. Offensive linemen are essentially nameless grunt laborers, but as a group, they sometimes rise to play better than their individual failings might suggest.

We’re talking hope here. 

We’ve mentioned that preseason games don’t mean a whole lot. In truth, they’re often dangerous teases. That horrendous 2008 Lions team, for example, was undefeated in the preseason.

But we’re also saying that a young quarterback such as second-year man Fields can use any nice performance that he executed at any time to build confidence and at least know that he can play well.

Just remember how you did it against the Browns in a meaningless exhibition could be the coaching mantra for him.

Which brings up new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. Competence and continuity are musts for a play-calling scheme, and you marvel at the Bears’ lack of both through the years. 

Since Martz himself left as play-caller after the 2011 season, the Bears have had Mike Tice, Marc Trestman, Adam Gase, Dowell Loggains, Matt Nagy, Bill Lazor, Nagy again, then Lazor once more, and now Getsy is in that position.

One hopes Getsy and Fields bond, that it all comes together and makes sense for the young player.

It’s for sure that all these easy bootleg rollouts Fields had against the Browns won’t be there against the first-rate 49ers in the opener. 

But maybe some magic and good luck will be. When nothing’s expected of you, even a little can be a lot.

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