LAKE FOREST – The easy thing was that Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy never had to motivate quarterback Justin Fields. That’s one thing that has been apparent in their eight months working together.
Ever since new Bears head coach Matt Eberflus hired Getsy to run his offense, Fields has taken it upon himself to put in the work. The Bears’ 23-year-old quarterback leads by example off the field. On the field, he’s the unquestioned leader of the offense. That’s why his teammates voted him one of four team captains this week.
Getsy called Fields a “self-motivator.”
“We expect him to be a great teammate, take care of the football and execute his assignments, just like we ask everybody else,” Getsy said. “The cool part about him is he’s got these natural leadership skills that everybody wants to follow, and he’s a winner.”
It took until the third preseason game for fans to see Fields find success for an extended period of time. In that third preseason game against Cleveland, Fields completed 14-of-16 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns before halftime. It was a tantalizing look at what this offense, led by Fields and orchestrated by Getsy, might look like.
The real showcase will come Sunday when the Bears open the season against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field. The Bears will be facing a 49ers defense featuring pass rusher Nick Bosa, linebacker Fred Warner and cornerback Charvarius Ward, among others.
This isn’t the preseason anymore. There’s still so much to learn about how this offense will fight adversity and how this coordinator will command his chess pieces.
“I genuinely am excited to put our play style on film and I think we talk a lot about that in our room, about how we want that film to look,” Getsy said. “Not putting an expectation of 1,000 yards in a game or 60 points in a game or something crazy or anything like that. We want the play style to be right, we want the mindset to be right, we want to take care of the football.”
From the day he was introduced, Getsy said this is not about running the Luke Getsy offense. Getsy and his staff want to build something together that they can collectively call their own. It’s not just about replicating what Getsy learned in Green Bay or any other stop along the way.
The offense certainly has its share of question marks. Will rookie fifth-round pick Braxton Jones hold up at left tackle? Is Lucas Patrick going to return to the lineup? Have the Bears given Fields enough weapons at receiver? Can Getsy succeed as a first-time play caller?
During the week Eberflus, a defensive-minded coach, will be honest with Getsy and describe how he would attack the Bears if he were defending Fields and the offense. Eberflus typically sits in on quarterback meetings, too.
“We’re going through a game plan portion and [a strategy] will come up in the meetings and we’ll just discuss it,” Eberflus said. “Sometimes it’ll even come up in the quarterback meeting. We’ll see something in there and we’ll start discussing it. Like I said before, it’s an open forum in there where everyone’s trying to learn and interact with each other.”
The 49ers defense will be a tough test. On Sunday, it’s finally time to answer some of those lingering questions. As football coaches love to say, the tape doesn’t lie.
“It’s not about the 49ers this week,” Fields said. “It’s about us. How we play. How we execute. So I’m just playing for my teammates, playing for my coaches and going out here and executing to the best of my ability.”