Bears OC Luke Getsy: Justin Fields ‘on the right path’
While Fields’ passing numbers were modest at best — his 149.5 yards per game is last in the NFL — Getsy was encouraged by progress as a leader and quarterback on and off the field. “The statistics that everyone’s looking for, those will come. And we know that.”
Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is as obsessed with the process of developing Justin Fields as most people are with the production that quantifies his individual success.
“As long as we see growth, we know we’re on the right path,” Getsy said.
Getsy saw that growth in the first four weeks of the season, when Fields’ numbers were not just poor but discouraging and seeming like a red flag. Fields completed 50.8% of his passes for 117.8 yards per game and a 58.7 passer rating.
He responded with marked improvement — though hardly prolific production — completing 65.7% of his passes for 169.6 yards per game and a 96.9 passer rating in his next 10 games.
Still, Fields finished the 2022 season with modest-at-best passing numbers. His 60.4% completion rate ranks 31st in the NFL. His 85.2 passer rating is 26th. Even his most impressive statistic — 7.1 yards per attempt — is 17th.
And Fields’ 149.5 yards per game are not only last in the NFL, they’re the second-lowest average for a second-year quarterback drafted in the first round in the last 30 seasons. He averaged more passing yards per game (180.0) as a starter in Matt Nagy’s offense last year.
But in the context of the offense and Fields’ development, Getsy saw progress.
“That’s what I saw every day [during the first month]. I continue to see that,” Getsy said.
“As we go into next year, now he’s had this experience. He’s had opportunities to get more comfortable with the communication of the system. Hopefully he gets more comfortable with the people around him.
“Any time you get that cohesiveness of the unit, and knowing what the culture looks like — and he’s the leader of that culture — I think all that is promising stuff.”
Asked for examples of Fields’ growth, Getsy pointed mostly to Fields’ maturity and comfort with his position as a team leader. Even to Getsy’s amused annoyance.
“Just [look at] his press conferences at the end of the year. He’s sitting there telling you about every single play,” Getsy said. “He told you we had a trick play. I’m like, ‘C’mon, dude, you can’t do that. You can’t go public and say a trick play.’
“Becoming a pro, the leadership. He got challenged last week with what happened with Chase [Claypool] on the sideline, and he handled that. That’s him becoming the leader of the football team and being a great pro and consistent every day. I think that’s the most important thing.
“Then all the other stuff those guys see every day on the practice field. They see him getting better every day. The results of it, the statistics that everyone’s looking for, those will come. And we know that. The most important thing is that we continue to see growth.”
Getsy’s confidence in Fields is strong enough that he dared to compare him to Aaron Rodgers — whom Getsy coached with the Packers the previous three seasons — when Getsy was asked about Fields developing a knack for knowing when to extend a play and when to throw it away.
“That’s part of the uniqueness of coaching guys that are special in a bunch of different ways,” Getsy said. “I was fortunate to coach a guy at my last stop [Rodgers] that he doesn’t see things like everybody else. So you work through that, like, ‘Why did you do it?’ He communicates that more clearly than any human being in the world.
“What’s cool about Justin is that he’s kind of on that path. He has his whys. He sees what he sees, and he’s able to communicate that. . . . He’s making a decision for a reason, so those conversations have been really good.”