If Bears QB Justin Fields now has everything he needs, so does OC Luke Getsy

An improved offensive line and wide receiver corps must lead to more passing production for Fields and more points for the Bears.

SHARE If Bears QB Justin Fields now has everything he needs, so does OC Luke Getsy


The Bears had their chance to reboot at quarterback and thought better of it. With the No. 1 pick in the draft, they could’ve started over with anyone they wanted, but a thorough vetting of their options led them back to Justin Fields.

Once they committed to Fields, the onus was on general manager Ryan Poles to surround him with quality personnel — something he and predecessor Ryan Pace didn’t do in his first two seasons. But now, after trading for wide receiver DJ Moore and drafting offensive tackle Darnell Wright in the first round, among other moves, Poles believes Fields has everything he needs.

And if Fields has everything he needs, so does offensive coordinator Luke Getsy.

Getsy had somewhat of a grace period in his first season. Fields was still fledgling, and the roster was being done on a budget. Still, the results were rough. The Bears were 23rd in points at 19.2 per game, and Fields was last among NFL starters at 149.5 passing yards per game.

When Getsy was asked in January what ideas he had to turn that around, he responded by asking who was going to be on the team. Now he knows. The Bears have upgraded the offensive line and wide receiver corps, so as long as Getsy can keep Fields on an upward trajectory, all the pieces should be in place.

“One of the things that I was reflecting on after the draft happened was just kind of looking at the roster that we had a year ago [compared] to where we’re at,” he said before a rookie-minicamp practice Saturday. “In the numbers sense and the competition that we’ll have now, that part of it will be the best thing that we have.”

While Getsy’s responsibilities are wide-ranging, Fields is his priority. If Fields takes off as a passer, so will the offense — and with it, Getsy’s career.

Getsy helped with due diligence as the Bears compared Fields against the potential of the draft prospects and came away further convinced that Fields was their answer.

His confidence is rooted in the improvement Fields made after his haphazard rookie season and in better personnel eliminating the need for Fields to scramble as often, which led to an impressive — but probably unsustainable — season of 1,143 rushing yards.

“He’s just light-years ahead of where he was, and I feel like he has a ton more to grow going forward,” Getsy said. “We’re excited to try to get the best out of him and keep working toward where we think he can go.

“Then it goes to everything: Getting the team around him better and us all being together for another year. . . . We’re hoping to build off of all that stuff.”

They have to.

From Poles down to Fields, the Bears have not danced around the fact that their passing game simply wasn’t viable.

Fields’ incredible running ability was the only thing that kept the offense from being a total disaster. Fields became the third quarterback to break 1,000 rushing yards, but he said he doesn’t intend to do it again. His running is a valuable asset that can bail the Bears out of trouble, but no one at Halas Hall thinks relying on that is the right course.

Despite his shortcomings, Fields showed enough potential. To an extent, it’s impressive that he has progressed at all given the circumstances. There’s no question there’s a star quarterback in there, but can Getsy bring it out of him?

Coach Matt Eberflus said that has been the emphasis in his offseason meetings with Getsy — “The passing game is the priority,” he said — and specifically addressed rhythm and timing issues with Fields. The Bears began tweaking his footwork and sharpening his decision-making a year ago, and now it’s time to see results. Based on seeing his workouts at the facility, Eberflus said Fields has “really made some big strides.”

Last season, with everyone still trying to iron out the transition, the Bears had a collective 80.3 passer rating, were one of only three teams to complete fewer than 60% of their passes, gave up the fourth-most sacks and topped 200 passing yards only once.

“We’ve got to take a step forward,” quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko said after practice. “That has to be a strongpoint to help this team win games.”

On paper, there’s cause for optimism.

The Bears figure to have at least two new, Poles-picked starters in guard Nate Davis and Wright. They’re also banking on Moore, who has averaged more than 1,000 yards per season despite the Panthers’ quarterback jumble, proving himself as a true No. 1 receiver and Chase Claypool snapping back from a thoroughly uninspiring start.

They’re also betting on receiver Darnell Mooney to rally from a choppy season that ended with an ankle injury that required surgery, tight end Cole Kmet to continue to climb and the running backs to cover for what was lost when David Montgomery left in free agency.

All of those hopes are plausible, and if all or most of them are realized, Getsy should be able to operate the offense he imagined when he took the job.

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