The Chicago Bears Rebuild is Sabotaging Justin Fields

Justin Fields staring, like he's seen the plans for the Chicago Bears rebuild
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

In the modern NFL, the plan is to build around a quarterback under his rookie contract, then figure out the rest later. The Chicago Bears rebuild, on the other hand, seems to be one where they’re playing checkers with chess pieces.

While team construction can take many paths, the one Chicago has taken makes no sense. Instead of taking their young quarterback and nurturing him, the Bears are making Justin Fields play out his career on hard mode.

Ah, you say Chicago’s offensive line was the worst in the NFL, and that Fields needs interior protection? Fear not, for the Bears have drafted tackles high up, and taken two developmental guard prospects in the later rounds of this year’s NFL draft

Fields needs a receiver room that can bail him out and make plays downfield, then. Of course, the Bears have had all their receivers leave except for Darnell Mooney, and have drafted a college WR2 as their top receiver pick.

But, what about giving Justin Fields an offensive head coach? Oh, they hired Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus? Darn.

In many ways, this team is worse off than they were last year.

The offensive line (still) does not exist

Bears quarterbacks in 2021 were sacked on 9.7 percent of their dropbacks, which was the worst in the league. Anyone who watched a Bears game last year will tell you that Justin Fields had no room to throw, and was often scrambling for his life.

The best lineman on the entire roster was James Daniels, who has had to play musical chairs with his position. Joining him as the team’s best lineman was Jason Peters. Sure, he’ll be in the Hall of Fame, but even the Bears didn’t see fit to bring back a 40-year-old tackle for 2022.

It goes downhill from there, though. Cody Whitehair’s 66.2 PFF grade is a highlight. Teven Jenkins – who had a PFF grade of 47.5 last season – may be starting for this year in 2022.

Jenkins position has come about due to the departures on the line of scrimmage. Daniels is now a Steeler, while Germain Ifedi and Elijah Wilkinson left for Atlanta.

The Bears have attempted to bolster their interior, somewhat. Signing Lucas Patrick from Green Bay should help, but Patrick only posted a 57.2 PFF grade in 2021.

But, in the draft, they focused on grabbing tackles and developmental prospects. Their first offensive line pick was not until the fifth round, where they grabbed tackle Braxton Jones from Southern Utah. They didn’t grab an interior line prospect until the sixth round, which boggles the mind.

The 2022 line still has at least one starting position open, if not two. At left tackle and at guard, the starter has yet to be determined. It is wonderous, however, that this line has ended up worse than last year’s, especially at a time critical to Justin Fields’ development.

What receivers?

As bad as the offensive line situation is, the wide receiver room is worse.

Darnell Mooney is still with the Bears, but that’s about all one can say. Allen Robinson has gone off to be with the Rams. Damiere Byrd and Marquise Goodwin have left for Atlanta and Seattle, respectively. Return specialist Jakeem Grant has left for Cleveland.

With what little talent there was now out the door, Chicago needed receivers bad. Unfortunately, despite having the fifth most cap space in the NFL, they were only able to sign Byron Pringle from Kansas City, as well as Equanimeous St. Brown from Green Bay. Pringle should make a solid addition, but St. Brown had less than 100 yards receiving last year for Green Bay.

As bad as free agency was for the Bears, the draft ended up being worse. They only grabbed one receiver; Velus Jones Jr. out of Tennessee. Jones, however, was not even the top receiver for the Vols, and is also coming into the NFL as a 25-year-old rookie.

The only real bright spot is that Cole Kmet is a solid checkdown target at tight end, but that’s about it. Mostly, though, the receiver situation is barren.

2022’s receiving corps looks like it’ll be Brown, followed by Pringle, with St. Brown and Jones Jr. being targets in the slot. That’s a very bad situation to be in, especially for a second-year quarterback who is already far too antsy to run out of the pocket.

Hiring Matt Eberflus is also a huge question mark

It is a truism that all teams will hire the exact opposite guy that they just fired.

For the Bears, it was no different. Matt Nagy came in with experience as an offensive guy. When Nagy was fired, Chicago hired Matt Eberflus, who was the Colts defensive coordinator.

Eberflus is considered to be a good player manager, but his hiring is becoming a big problem for Justin Fields already, given his focus on defense. In an NFL confidential article for The Athletic, one evaluator stated “they want to get back to old-school Chicago football where they play great defense and good-enough offense.” Although that evaluator would say he was okay with their rebuild, it’s hard to argue that Fields development isn’t going to be hampered by it.

Indeed, if the coach is favoring his side of the ball more in hopes of a long-term rebuild, then that coach will be in for a rude awakening. We are living in a post-defense-wins-championships world. Any team that deviates from going offense-first is going to find themselves lagging behind real fast.

Justin Fields already suffers from mechanical issues that hamper his game. How is he supposed to work on those when the entire plan is to rely on his scrambling ability?

All these problems sum up to a Chicago Bears rebuild gone awry, and it’s too bad for Fields that he has to languish on this team.

Chicago Bears Mock Draft

Chicago Bears Mock Draft
Image via

This season has been brutal for Chicago fans. At this point it feels like the Bears are playing just to get Justin Fields more experience in the NFL. With the 2021 season looking as bleak as ever, let’s look ahead into the 2022 NFL draft. Here is my November Chicago Bears mock draft. Grab yourself your favorite beer, cocktail, or a cup of coffee and let’s run through it!

Round 2

Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver, Alabama

The Bears offense is set to lose Allen Robinson this off-season and doesn’t have a very great receiving corps to begin with. Darnell Mooney has been solid, but Chicago’s front office must give Justin Fields the weapons to help him succeed at the next level.

Let’s give this Bears offense some more juice. Jameson Williams is a burner out wide, as evidenced by this video. Williams also has some chemistry with Justin Fields already, as both were at Ohio State in 2019 and 2020. In those two seasons, Williams had 266 yards and three touchdowns on 15 receptions, that’s good for 17.7 yards per catch.

This season, Williams has taken his game to the next level. Williams, through eleven games, has 59 receptions that have gone for 1,218 yards and 13 touchdowns, good for 20.6 yards per catch.

That kind of game-breaking ability is exactly what this Chicago offense needs. Vertical passing is probably Justin Fields’ greatest strength as well.

Round 3

Jarrett Patterson, Interior Offensive Line, Notre Dame

Protect Justin Fields at all costs. Jarrett Patterson is one of the better pass protectors on the interior in this draft class. Patterson also has the capability to play all three positions on the interior of the offensive line.

This Bears offensive line is still a work in progress even after drafting Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom last off-season. With James Daniels still without a contract extension, this could be a huge need for Chicago. If Daniels does get his extension — which in my opinion he should — the Bears can easily drop Patterson in as their starting center day one.

My summer scouting report on Jarrett Patterson can be found here!

Round 5

Cam Hart, Cornerback, Notre Dame

The Bears secondary is still going to be an issue in 2022. Jaylon Johnson has been solid, but the rest of the secondary has been poor. Good teams have depth in the secondary and Chicago has none.

Cam Hart may not be a sexy name, but he has been a rock-solid cover man for the Fighting Irish this season. As the draft nears closer and closer, he might be a guy who won’t even make it out of Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

I have some thoughts on him after I attended the ND-USC game this season that you can find here!

Round 6

Cade Mays, Interior Offensive Line, Tennessee

As I mentioned above, this Chicago Bears offensive line needs improvement. Even after selecting Jarrett Patterson, Chicago could add a depth piece in Cade Mays late in the draft.

A nice complement to the Teven Jenkins pick last year, Mays will bring the intensity this offensive line room lacks at times. Mays isn’t afraid to block defenders through (and sometimes after) the whistle.

Clearly you can see that I think the biggest objective for the Chicago Bears this off-season should be to build up this offense around Justin Fields. He has shown glimpses of incredible arm talent already this season, even in a poor situation.

With only four draft picks (not including any comp picks that will be coming Chicago’s way), it is tough to imagine this team getting much better though the draft.

Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace are almost definitely gone after this season. You can read my thoughts on that here. It’s hard to predict how a new general manager will draft and what he prioritizes, but I will continue to do Chicago Bears mock drafts throughout the season and in the off-season. Until then, peace!

Follow Us: @ryanmcaloon & @bears_atb

Bears vs Packers: Week 6 Recap – Bears lose. Again

The Bears took on the Packers on Sunday, and the results were…the same as they usually are

Bears vs Packers
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Your Chicago Bears (3-3) lose vs the Green Bay Packers (5-1) 24-14. Not much else is new, besides Aaron’s new soundbite. “I own you!” Tough, but fair. Bears were actually within striking distance for the whole game, even having jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, as well as cutting it to 3 points with a long touchdown drive late. Yet, as soon as Rodgers got the ball in his hands in the 4th, you knew what was going to happen. At the same time, we saw a few bright spots. I’ll do my best to play those up.

1st Quarter 

Neutral zone infraction on the first play, and the next was a 16-yard scramble from Rodgers. Nice foreshadowing. Aaron Jones followed it with a nice run, Rodgers had a couple of short passes after that, but the Bears ultimately get some early-down run stops, force the Packers into a 3rd and long, and sack Rodgers to get off of the field. At which point the Bears, somehow, not only establish the run with Khalil Herbert but get a perfect 3/3 passing drive from Justin Fields. Add in a long PI and the Bears punch in a 7-0 early lead with Herbert.

Next drive Bears get a 3 and out after Quinn gets home on 3rd and long. What could possibly go wrong? Good return as Grant got a little banged up, a great run from Herbert, Fields scrambles for a near first when the pocket collapses on 3rd and 5, we pick it up on 4th and short. A few plays later, Green Bay clearly jumps into the neutral zone.

Refs don’t call it, Justin thinks he has a free play (that Allen Robinson seemingly gives up on) and Green Bay gets an interception in the end zone that should have never happened. The refs would never allow that to happen to Rodgers, by the way. The Bears started off getting good pressure on Green Bay’s next drive. So inevitably, the refs miss Rodgers grabbing Mario Edwards Jr.’s face mask and hit Edwards with an unsportsmanlike for reacting to it. Typical. 

2nd Quarter

Packers run a QB sneak on a 4th and 1. Bears run defense responds, and then Davante Adams kills Jaylon Johnson for 29 yards on a slant. Johnson had been shadowing Adams, he was doing well on the outside, but this one came from the slot. Eventually Green Bay scores on a shovel pass to tie the game. Bears go 3 and out, and it feels like Green Bay is figuring it out. They are. Dillon runs for 38 to start the next drive.

Green Bay eventually settles for a field goal after they get called for OPI. Quinn had a big TFL on the drive as the defense fought back after the big lead. Still, Green Bay takes a 10-7 lead. Bears start off well with the run, dodge a bullet on another Fields near pick, have another shot to tie the game but ultimately take a sack on 3rd down, and have to punt instead of getting up a field goal attempt. 

3rd Quarter

Bears start the 3rd with a few runs, but a dropped pass on a screen to Herbert leads to a punt. Green Bay takes over on offense, they go to DA on 1st down, gash the bears with Aaron Jones after that. We get another questionable PI penalty on 3rd and 4, and after a Marcedes Lewis reception and even more Aaron Jones the Pack go up 10.

The ballgame feels done at this point. Bears try to get something going with more Herbert, as well as a nice pass to Mooney, but the drive ultimately stalls. Hicks sacks the Packers on a free run to get off the field the next drive, but seemingly hurt himself on the play. 

4th Quarter

After an 82 yard punt, the Bears take over from their own 20. After 2 solid runs, Fields finds Robinson for a 20-yard strike down the middle of the field on 3rd and short. Could have had the easy first with his legs but you love the confidence. On the next play, he responds with a 21-yard strike to Cole Kmet. Hope returns. Justin makes a play with his legs, Herbert gets a TD called back on another questionable penalty.

Bears fightback from 1st and 20, and eventually end a 5 minute, 80-yard drive with a Mooney receiving touchdown. Bears down 3, but Rodgers gets the ball back, hooks up with Adams for a 40-yard completion after a couple of thwarted runs, and ultimately rolls out to the near side of the field for the game-winning touchdown.

Seemed like he was holding on to that one since his first scramble in the first quarter. He discount double checks in the end zone, berates the fans in a video you’ll see forever, and that’s pretty much it.

The Bears show some fight but just don’t have enough yet. Next week they travel to Tampa (who have 10 days of rest) next week. 

This is fine.

Improvements We’d Like to See

The starters looked good for the most part against Chicago, but there is still room to improve

Credit: Trojan Wire

Last Saturday, the Dolphins fell to the Bears in their first preseason game. The Dolphins starting offense showed signs of life, but only put up 3 points. The starting defense locked down the Bears offense. There were still issues for Miami though. Containing Justin Fields and poor OL play were the most significant. 

Below is a list of improvements we’d like to see in tonight’s game versus Atlanta.


The starting OL was below average. 2020 first-round pick Austin Jackson had the toughest day out of everyone.

Austin Jackson was the lowest rated Dolphins OL versus Chicago

On one play, he was driven straight back at QB Tua Tagovailoa. Jackson was thrown back and flew into Tagovailoa’s legs. The Dolphins escaped disaster on that play. Jackson stayed in after most starters were pulled and finished the first half. The Dolphins will look for more consistent pass protection from Jackson against an Atlanta DL that isn’t as dangerous as Chicago’s. The Dolphins traded for OT Greg Little, so it’s no secret Austin Jackson’s performance was a concern.

The running backs didn’t have a great performance. Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed showed potential with the first-teamers, but hesitated and lacked vision at times. FA signing Malcolm Brown also struggled, with 9 yards on 8 carries.

Some of these struggles could be attributed to poor OL play, but the RB’s weren’t doing their part either. 

Ahmed was solid in the passing game and has been contributing all week at practice. Although Miami plans on a committee-styled RB room, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ahmed get more work with the starters.

It will be important to keep an eye on all the RB’s and see how they fare against a slightly easier front-7 in the Falcons.


The starting defense got off to a great start, and the Bears didn’t pick up a first down until the end of the first half. There were still issues with the defense later on in the game.

Miami has always struggled against mobile QB’s, or any QB once they get outside the pocket. Last week, Bears rookie Justin Fields showed that it was still an issue.

Although Matt Ryan and AJ McCarron aren’t dual-threats, Feleipe Franks is. If Franks gets time with the 2nd-team, it will be interesting to see how Miami’s front-7 contains him. 

The pass rush was lackluster for the most part. Besides a handful of good plays, Fields had plenty of time to throw. In that game though, rookie Jaelan Phillips and Emmanuel Ogbah didn’t play. If Miami can get into the Falcons backfield, the defense is going to be even scarier than last week.

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Chicago Was Witness To A Football Miracle with Justin Fields

Bears quarterback Justin Fields
Image via SBNation

The Chicago Bears have had a surprisingly spectacular off-season. Fans were maybe hopeful, but not convinced that Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy would find themselves a franchise quarterback. After swinging and missing on Russell Wilson things looked bleak for the Bears quarterback room. Then, in the first round of the NFL Draft, a miracle happened: Justin Fields.

Heading into the College Football 2020 Season

Justin Fields was talked about as a top two pick before the 2020 college football season. Some analysts were saying he could push Trevor Lawrence for the first overall pick. Unfortunately for Justin Fields, the Big Ten decided to cancel their season while the SEC, ACC, Big-12 and (most importantly) BYU decided to play a full season.

The Other Quarterbacks

BYU and their star quarterback Zach Wilson came out of nowhere this college season. Wilson had a spectacular college season, displaying arm talent few could rival in college. He also showing athleticism and playmaking ability that got him the nickname “Mormon Manziel”.

Trey Lance was also getting plenty of hype heading into the 2020 season. His only problem was North Dakota State would be canceling their season. However, Lance’s elite athletic traits, rumored leadership qualities, and football IQ kept NFL teams very interested.

Alabama and Mac Jones were also having a spectacular season. Jones would lead Alabama to 48.5 points per game. All in an SEC-only scheduled season, ranking second in the nation behind only Kent State (49.8 PPG).

Justin Field’s 2020 Season

Zach Wilson and Mac Jones were making names for themselves on the National stage. Meanwhile, Ohio State was clamoring to Big Ten officials to let them play a conference-only schedule. Justin Fields was leading the charge and was the voice of the players who wanted to play a season. COVID protocols were finally agreed upon and Big Ten games would be played.

Fields looked strong in Week 1 of his season. He completed 20 of his 21 pass attempts (95.2 completion percentage) for 276 yards and 3 total touchdowns against Nebraska. Fields would then go on to have an up and down year, struggling against a talented and well coached Indiana team throwing three interceptions that day.
Northwestern, another talented and well coached team, also gave Fields problems as he only completed 44.4% of his passes in the Big Ten championship game.

Fields would bounce back and have a spectacular day against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State would advance to the National Championship game where they would inevitably lose to Alabama and Mac Jones, but the damage was done.

Between the hype of Zach Wilson, the intrigue of Trey Lance, and the record-breaking season Alabama’s Mac Jones just had, Justin Fields had a lot of competition to see who would go #2 overall behind Trevor Lawrence in April.

Free Agency

After another uninspiring year from their 2017 #2 overall pick, Mitch Trubisky. Chicago’s quarterback room was probably the most bleak in the entire NFL. Their defense was just good enough to help them win enough game to secure a playoff spot. Everyone thought this would take them out of the rookie-quarterback market.

Chicago was linked to just about every quarterback on the market, which ironically happened to be more quarterbacks than usual this year with Jared Goff, Matthew Stafford, Sam Darnold, and Carson Wentz all being traded. As well as Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson both being disgruntled with their situations and rumored to be trade candidates as well.

Chicago reportedly was extremely close to trading for Russell Wilson, rumored to be giving up multiple young pieces like Jaylon Johnson & Roquon Smith as well as 2-3 first round picks. A steep price to pay for a franchise quarterback and one trade looking back, I’m thankful fell through.


Jacksonville was almost certainly taking Trevor Lawrence #1 Overall. With New York trading Sam Darnold to Carolina and San Francisco trading up to secure the #3 Overall pick, it was clear they were both taking quarterbacks as well.

The four realistic options were Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Mac Jones, and Justin Fields. Zach Wilson turned into the heavy favorite to go to New York at #2 Overall, leaving the 49ers with their choice of Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones.

Draft Day

It was as expected on Draft Day. Jacksonville would take the generational talent, Trevor Lawrence. The Jets would then take the biggest riser in college football, Zach Wilson.

San Francisco would then shake things up and shock most of the draft world by taking Trey Lance. A D1-FCS quarterback who had only 318 pass attempts. A very small sample size for the #3 overall pick. Especially when Justin Fields and Mac Jones were also on the board. Each of them eclipsed 550 pass attempts in college, a much bigger sample size.

With Mac Jones and Justin Fields still available, the Carolina Panthers (#8 pick) and Denver Broncos (#9 pick) both came in with questions at quarterback. Both teams decided quarterback was not necessarily a huge need.

Both Carolina and Denver opted to take a cornerback. Carolina selected Jaycee Horn and Denver selected Patrick Surtain II with the next pick. Leaving room for Justin Fields and Mac Jones to continue to fall.

With their top two players off the board (presumably Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II), Dallas opted to trade back from the 10th pick. Philadelphia (#12 pick) wanted to jump the New York Giants (#11 pick), Dallas was the perfect trade partner.

Philadelphia traded up to take wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the Giants’ top target. With DeVonta Smith now an Eagle, New York decided they needed to trade back. The Giants still wanted to draft a wide receiver, but there was more value if they traded down before selecting one.

Ryan Pace and Chicago’s staff were ultra-aggressive. Giving up their 20th and 164th overall selections in 2021 as well as their 1st and 4th round picks in 2022. A steep price to pay to move up 9 slots maybe, but well worth it for a player as talented as Fields at the quarterback position.

Future Outlook

Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are clearly on the hot seat. Some analysts and fans thought they would be fired after the 2020 season, now they will almost certainly be gone after the 2021 season.

Justin Fields has already shown how talented he is with flashes. Showing off deep accuracy that Bears fans are not accustom to, Fields showed Bears fans that their offense could be exciting.

Justin Fields is one of the most athletically gifted quarterbacks in the NFL right now, with his speed, size, and arm strength to go along with his accuracy and decision making, I’m not sure how you could describe him falling to Chicago at 11th Overall anything except for a Football Miracle.

Thank you everyone who read this brief timeline on how Justin Fields fell out of the top 10 and all the events that had to take place just for Chicago to have a chance to draft him!

Check Out My Other Articles: Chicago Bears 2022 Mock Draft & Chicago Bears Head Coaching Candidates

Make sure to give bears_atb a follow on Twitter as well as me: @ryanmcaloon! DM bears_atb on Twitter if you’re interested in writing for us! Until next time, peace!