How to respond to Justin Fields’ struggles: a primer for fans

Justin Fields looks on during the Bears’ training camp at Halas Hall.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

One of the great things about the NFL is that every game feels like it matters, even though many games don’t. The Bears-Lions “showdown” on Nov. 13 isn’t going to be freighted with meaning, but by kickoff, we in the media will have analyzed the matchup to such an extent you’ll think the Super Bowl is about to be played. And you, being the passionate consumer of all things pigskin, will cheer and rage and throw things at the TV as if the fate of the planet were being decided over those three hours.

That same fervor extends to training camp, which doesn’t make much sense. Watching large, sweaty men grunt through a day’s work that doesn’t involve a scoreboard? In essence, it’s heat exhaustion as a spectator sport. Yet loads of significance is attached to what certain players do in August. When that certain player is the quarterback, it starts to feel like a search for the meaning of life.

Life hasn’t gone well for Justin Fields and the Bears offense so far in camp. If you want to play the role of wise counsel and remind all of us that it’s early August and that there’s plenty of time for improvement, go ahead. But what does that have to do with the rabies-like symptoms that some worried fans are presenting?

Even Fields’ most ardent supporters have had to rein in their enthusiasm a tad and admit that, if the reports emanating from Halas Hall are correct, their man has struggled. But those supporters are open to the possibility that it’s fake news. You try to tell them that fans are allowed into some training-camp practices, adding to the veracity of the reports. They reply that those observers are probably Packers fans.

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The problems for Fields to date aren’t small but they aren’t impossible to overcome, either. They are concerning, however, if you think that footwork and accuracy and a solid grasp of a new offense are critical. This leaves your typical Bears fans with three possible approaches to take:

1) Freak out over less than two weeks of workouts.

2) Carry on with the unshakeable certainty that Fields is a superstar in the making who, due to the football sins of his offense-challenged former head coach, is playing catch-up.

3) Admit that Fields hasn’t been good in camp but hope that his raw skills point toward better days ahead.

I suppose there’s one other approach:

4) Tell loved ones to begin preparing your burial plot.

For sanity’s sake, the recommendation here is Door No. 3. The talented Mr. Fields hasn’t been good but it doesn’t mean he can’t be. He’s having a hard time in his second offense in two seasons, and this one happens to be populated by players who, …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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