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Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields speaks to the Bears poor start to the 2023 - 2024 NFL Season
On Wednesday, September 20th, 2023 the Chicago Bears’ young and struggling starting quarterback, Justin Fields, was publicly criticized for his poor play during last Sunday’s embarrassing 27 to 17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being characterized as "robotic" and Justin said that he felt that he was not, "playing like myself." Fields also spilled some of the blame for his poor performances so far this season over to the Chicago Bears’ coaching staff as well.
Fields believes one of the driving factors behind the Chicago Bears regression so far this year can be attributed to the amount of overthinking during the game play according to the now 24 - year - old quarterback, and Fields is claiming that is how he has been overcoached right now at the moment.
"You know, could be coaching, I think," says Fields. "At the end of the day, they are doing their job when they are giving me what to look at, but at the end of the day, I can't be thinking about that when the game comes. I prepare myself throughout the week, and then when the game comes, it's time to play free at that point. Thinking less and playing more."
Last Sunday’s Game vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fields went 16 for 29 which was good for 211 - yards, 1 - touchdown, and 2 - interceptions. He ran the rock a total of only 4 - times for just 3 - yards which fortunately for the Chicago Bears did at least result in 1 - touchdown rush for Justin.
That was the least amount of rushing yards Fields has put up during an NFL game since his rookie year with the Chicago Bears. Last week’s road loss in sunny Florida lengthened the Chicago Bears losing streak to a staggering 12 - games which dates all the way back to October of 2022.
Week 3 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs
Fields recently mentioned that he fully hopes to modify his approach for the Chicago Bears upcoming game versus the Kansas City Chiefs during week - 3 of the 2023 - 2024 NFL. Fields is looking to get back to playing football the way he knows that he is capable of. Unfortunately playing the defending Super Bowl champs in the Kansas City Chiefs is a very tough task especially on the road in Arrowhead Stadium. According to Bovada they have the Kansas City Chiefs as 12 - point favorites as of Thursday, September 21, 2023.
Speaking to the Media
"My goal this week is just to say fuck it and go out there and play football how I know to play football," Fields goes on to say. "That includes thinking less and just going out there and playing off of instincts rather than so much, say, info in my head, data in my head. Just literally going out there and playing football. Going back to it's a game and that's it. That's when I play my best, when I'm just out there playing free and being myself, so I'm going to, say, kind of bump all the what I should, this and that, pocket stuff. I'm going to go out there and be me."
The young and very inexperienced quarterback of the Chicago Bears needed to swallow a total of 6 - sacks last weekend versus the extremely average Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many of those sack lunches came to the feet of Fields due to the fact that Justin sat in the pocket with the football way too long especially when Fields has the wheels to elude defenders and pick up first downs on his own pretty much at will.
Lately Justin keeps referencing that the Chicago Bears coaching staff has been over complicating and or emphasizing for him to staying in the pocket throughout the past 2023 NFL offseason, and that while some situations may call for him to do so, he feels the need to rely on his own internal clock and football instincts to make plays the explosive plays that the Chicago Bears offense has been desperately missing so far this season.
"I don't think it's too many coaching voices, but I just think when you're fed a lot of information at a point in time and you're trying to think about that info when you're playing, it doesn't let you play like yourself," Fields explained. "You're trying to process so much information to where it's like, if I just simplify it in my mind, I would have did this. I saw a few plays on Sunday, if I was playing like my old self, we would have had a positive play. There would have been more third - down [conversions]. I think that's just the biggest thing for me is playing the game how I know how to play and how I've been playing my whole life. That's what I got to get back to doing."
The suddenly outspoken QB of the long - time hurting Chicago Bears has now disclosed that he has voiced his opinion to the Chicago Bears coaching staff as well as the franchise’s front office in regards to his concerns, and Fields has now chosen to relay these messages to the major sports media outlets in order to make this business public in hopes to be understood.
The Chicago Bears head coach, Matt Eberflus, has responded by defending his position that he does not feel that the Chicago Bears have overcoached Fields, and that having him being free is what the team ultimately wants. So, we will see this weekend when the Bears take the field against the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday, September 24th, 2023 if everyone in blue and orange is on the same page.
"He respects that partnership, and so do we," Eberflus expressed. "We want him to play free. I think it's very important that, as we work through this, making sure that he does play free, that we coach him that way. A lot of times he wants to be perfect. He wants to do it the right way. And there's a balance there, though, right? There's a balance between, 'Hey, going through my progressions,' but also having the ability to say, 'Hey, I feel these things happening. Now I'm going to play instinctual.' And that could be just sliding up in the pocket in the B - gap and delivering the ball or taking off and running. I think that's where that is."
Fields absolutely believes by him voicing his concerns with his coaching staff is a very important part of the completely necessary process in order for the Chicago Bears to develop as a team and improve upon their extremely concerning early season struggles this season.
"Nobody is going to take anything personal," Fields said. "The coaches say we need to play better, I need to play better, I'm not taking that personal because I think everybody in here knows that I need to play better, including myself. They're not going to take it personal if us as players go to them and say, 'I didn't like this call.' They need to be better. We're all grown men in the building, and we all can take it. It's about working with each other, getting each other better, holding each other accountable and working towards the same goal. In terms of that fact, yeah, I think everybody can do better around here, including myself."
Justin continues, “It's like you all are trying to split us up. I'm not blaming anything on the coaches; I'm never going to blame anything on the coaches; I'm never going to blame anything on my teammates. Whatever happens in a game, I will take all the blame. I don't care. If it's a dropped pass, it should have been a pass, put it on me. Whenever you hear anything come out of my mouth to where I would blame it on somebody else in this organization, my teammates, never will you hear that. I just want to clear that up. Just know I need to play better. That's it. Point - blank. That's what it should have been in the first place."
Other Issues for the Bad News Bears
When it rains it pours as the Chicago Bears seem to be getting soaked with more and more disappointing news. Now one of Fields' biggest protectors in their starting left tackle, Braxton Jones, was just placed on the NFL’s injured reserve list with a recent and somewhat serious neck injury.
When asked whether B. Jones could miss the entire NFL regular season, Eberflus responded by saying, "We'll see where it is. We don't have timetables on it right now. That's where it is right now."
Also, the Chicago Bears just decided to release their veteran quarterback in Nathan Peterman who had served as Fields' back - up the 1st - two weeks of the 2023 - 2024 NFL season. This move now pushes the rookie quarterback, Tyson Bagent, into the number - 2 QB spot on the Chicago Bears depth chart as of now.
Justin Fields’ Football Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards
- Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award Winner (2020)
- 2 - Time Graham - George Offensive Player of the Year Award Winner (2019, 2020)
- 2 - Time Griese - Brees Quarterback of the Year Award Winner (2019, 2020)
- Second - Team All - American Selection (2019)
- 2 - Time First - Team All - Big Ten Selection (2019, 2020)
Justin Fields’ NFL Records
- Most Rushing Yards by a Quarterback in a Regular Season Game with 178 - Rushing Yards
“Bears' Justin Fields points to coaching for 'robotic' play”, Courtney Cronin, espn.com, September 20, 2023.
“Justin Fields”, pro-football-reference.com, September 20, 2023.