Is it realistic to think the Bears’ Justin Fields can do the unthinkable — throw for 4,000 yards?

That’s his goal this season, even though he wasn’t close in 2022.

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Bears quarterback Justin Fields throwing a pass during training camp.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields takes part in a drill during training camp Wednesday at Halas Hall.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Is the gap shrinking between what Chicago wants Justin Fields to be and what Fields actually is? That is to say, are there indications the Bears quarterback is getting closer to being the best thing in the history of, you know, humanity?

That would depend on if you think training camp means anything.

If you think it does, then you’ve read the daily missives about Fields’ blossoming connection with DJ Moore and are convinced that, if the QB is not already being fitted for his Hall of Fame blazer, then somebody has dropped the proverbial ball.

If you think training camp has about as much meaning as the lint in your pocket, then you’re probably waiting for more substantive proof than a completed pass during seven-on-seven drills.

I don’t want to tell you what to think (who am I kidding?), but the smarter approach would be to wait and see. Not because you’ve been hurt so many times before in your pursuit of a Bears quarterback to stay in love with, but because very little that occurs in training camp carries over to the regular season. Think of all the preseason games you’ve forced yourselves to watch. Think of all the “oohs’’ and “aahs’’ that were wasted on a quarterback competing against the other team’s third-stringers. Think of all the misplaced enthusiasm.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t get excited about a perfect Fields spiral to the kid who hands out the water bottles in camp. Knock yourself out. But just know that very little of it will matter once the real games and the real defensive scheming begin.

I would love to see Fields become the first Bears quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards or more in a season, one of his stated goals for 2023. It would be like seeing clear evidence of life on another planet. It would be so strange, so thrilling and so out of Chicago’s experience that I’m not sure the city would know what to do with itself.

I take that back. It would know exactly what to do. It would carry on with the visions, the revelations and the prophecies it traditionally brings to quarterback worship. This time, though, it would be based on reality, on a whole quarterback, not on half of one who can run but can’t throw.

Is 4,000 yards realistic for Fields this season? Here is where I’m going to commit the columnist’s cardinal sin.

I don’t know.

History would tell me that I’m an idiot for not knowing the answer. But wandering into this sports-talk-radio debate is to miss the point, which is how pathetic it is that the Bears lack a 4,000-yard passer. It’s commonplace for quarterbacks to throw for more than 4,000 yards these days. Nine did it last season. Ten did it the season before. Twelve did it in 2020.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning each had 14 4,000-yard seasons.

Fifteen quarterbacks have had 5,000-yard passing seasons in NFL history.

Erik Kramer threw for 3,838 yards in 1995, the closest a Bears quarterback has come to 4,000. So close and yet so far in the past.

You can look at my uncertainty as a betrayal of all things Bears and Fields or you can look at it as common sense. I’d go with Door No. 2 if I were you. Fields threw for only 2,242 yards in Luke Getsy’s offense last season. There were reasons for that. The offensive line apparently had a death wish for Fields. He was sacked 55 times, the most in the league. But there were problems of his own making, too. He wasn’t an accurate passer, which is a problem only if you think receivers need to have the ball in the vicinity of their hands to make a reception.

If you’re of the belief that Fields is on the cutting edge of quarterbacking and that running is more important now, then perhaps you think passing yardage isn’t that vital. He rushed for 1,143 yards last season, a franchise record for a quarterback, and many of those yards were of the breathtaking variety.

But he’s the one who brought up 4,000 passing yards as a goal.

Perhaps the best way to wrap this up is in one neat, tantalizing package: If Justin Fields were to throw for 4,000 yards this season and rush for, say, 750 yards, the franchise would have the quarterback it’s been pining for all these decades. And Chicago would lose its mind.

Like all Bears agnostics, I’ll need to see some serious proof.

In the meantime, I’ll take comfort in the familiar. Following in the training-camp footsteps of many a Bears quarterback, Fields recently said the camaraderie on the team is wonderful. It’s nice to know there are still things you can count on in life.

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