After a rough rookie season Justin Fields has started to look much better in the first few days of training camp. It’s a time of optimism across the NFL and everyone has new hope, but is the Bears hope real or a mirage.
The main problem for the Bears is whether they have enough talent at WR to take some of the pressure off of the second-year signal caller. Darnell Mooney is the returning, potential, star who looks set to bloom in 2022. But when you look deeper are you looking at Byron Pringle, Dante Pettis, N’Keal Harry, David Moore, or Equanimeous St. Brown as quality receivers?
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WHERE DOES JUSTIN FIELDS GO WITH THE BALL?
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With only four of the Bears receivers having over 1,000 yards for their entire careers it shows there’s reason to have some questions about their quality. David Moore looked good in Seattle at times but his production has never been stellar having never broken 500 yards in a season.
Byron Pringle has put up decent numbers in Kansas City, but he was also surrounded by talent that took the opposing teams best defenders. His speed will always threaten defences, but can he create separation consistently as a key offensive focus? Justin Fields could love a guy like Pringle because of that speed, but he needs to get separation.
N’Keal Harry was hotly touted coming out of college but never really caught on in New England and even requested a trade ahead of only his third season. Having a career high through three years of 309 yards and 2 touchdowns means he has a lot of growing to do. It’s been reported that Getsy said Harry has come “in here with a purpose” which is encouraging, but there’s a long road ahead.
It seems like new Bears OC Luke Getsy will have his work cut out for him in creating the chances for this offense to spread the field. Getsy does have a good spread of skills garnered in Green Bay, working with receivers, quarterback and quality control. But this is a big challenge.
None of this says that this group of receivers can’t become great together, but it does give some significant pause. It’s not a group that will scare many defences, and with the Bears still trying to solidify the offensive line you don’t want a defence playing to close to the line.
For a quarterback in his second year I would like him to have more solid options that can create separation and give him some genuine help. If we learned anything last year it’s that the line is still a work in progress, and even with improvement they will struggle at times. The danger is that Fields could be wrecked before he even gets the weapons around him to grow.
Early signs in camp are that Justin Fields is growing into his role as a franchise QB. But unless some of these receivers show out, it could be a long hard season for the Bears signal caller.