Luke Getsy’s steady hand guiding Justin Fields to a new level

Getsy saw progress when Fields struggled in the first month, and isn’t getting caught up in the celebration of Fields’ recent progress. In fact, this is the hard part. “Something that always resonated with me that Mike McCarthy used to say to us all the time — it’s way harder to handle the success than it is to handle the adversity,”

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Bears quarterback Justin Fields talks to offensive coordinator Luke Getsy.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1, talking to offensive coordinator Luke Getsy) won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award after throwing three touchdown passes and rushing for 178 yards — an NFL record for a quarterback in a regular-season game — against the Dolphins last week.

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Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy never flinched when Justin Fields was completing 50% of his passes, getting sacked four times a game and hit probably another four and averaging 154.5 total yards with a 58.7 passer rating in the first four weeks of the season. He even disputed the notion that it was a “rough month.” 

Getsy’s patience was rewarded, and a month later, Fields’ developmental arc is getting leaguewide attention after a record-setting game against the Dolphins — 178 rushing yards — that earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. In his last five games, Fields is completing 63.3% of his passes, getting sacked 3.4 times without the extra hits and averaging 261.3 total yards with a 99.7 passer rating. 

Now comes the hard part.

“Something that always resonated with me that [former Packers coach] Mike McCarthy used to say to us all the time: It’s way harder to handle the success than it is to handle the adversity,” Getsy said. “When you have other people thinking you have success, now people are telling you they love you and patting you on the back. [It’s about] remaining humble and staying focused on your job and making sure you stay true to what you believe . . . the kind of man you want to be and the kind of football team you want to be.

“So we have to stay focused on our purpose, and I think guys have done a good job of that to this point.” 

You can’t blame Bears fans for being giddy about Fields’ performance against the Dolphins and his obvious growth over the last five games. A month ago, Fields looked unsure, hesitant, out of sync and too reminiscent of Mitch Trubisky at a similar stage of development. But this recent surge is significantly more promising than anything Trubisky did as a Bear. 

But Getsy doesn’t get giddy. So it’s no surprise that he wasn’t celebrating Fields’ monumental performance. When asked for his assessment of it — good or bad — he acknowledged there was “a little of both” and didn’t forget that Fields had an interception that was nullified by a penalty.

“He did a lot of nice things,” Getsy said Thursday. “Obviously, he made some plays that were pretty unbelievable. We gotta make sure we keep eliminating those few [bad] plays — the interception that got called back. He’s gotta just throw it away and move on to the next down. 

“But there’s plenty of good plus in there. He’s starting to get more comfortable with everything . . . every week. We’ve just got to keep building on that.” 

Getsy doesn’t deal in breakthroughs, revelations or monumental moments. He lives in a world in which development isn’t necessarily defined by statistics.

“I think my proof [of progress] is different from your guys’ proof and most people’s proof,” he said, referring to reporters. “It’s mindset. We go to work every day to get better every day. That’s it. To become something special, you have to ignore the good and the bad when you’re talking about stuff that gets reported rather than what’s real.” 

So to us, Fields’ 61-yard touchdown run that might have been an incompletion or a sack a month ago is a giant leap. To Getsy, it’s just a small step, part of the process. 

But what we can agree on is that it is growth. 

“It’s not a dramatic change,” Getsy said. “The 61-yard run, that’s a third-and-four [where] we called a pass play, and it became what it is. We didn’t call a different play there than we did a couple of weeks ago. 

“I think what you’re seeing is somebody that’s more comfortable in understanding what the play means. So you’re able to do more things. Not just him, everybody in the group. When the quarterback [is] feeling comfortable with what’s actually going on around him, the confidence obviously grows.” 

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