Chicago Bears notes: QB Justin Fields plans to save his legs in practice this week

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields outruns the Lions defense for a long touchdown  in the fourth quarter of their game Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

LAKE FOREST – After Sunday’s loss against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field, Bears quarterback Justin Fields said his body was feeling it. Fields had just run for 147 yards against the Lions. In the span of eight days he rushed for 325 yards, the most ever by an NFL quarterback in back-to-back games.

“My legs are kind of sore,” Fields said after the game.

He also needed stitches on his ear from a minor cut. He largely has avoided big hits, but it’s not big hits he’s worried about. It’s tired legs.

Fields has rushed for 111 yards per game over the past five games. The player who already has the biggest mental burden on the field – relaying the plays, assessing the defensive formation, reading what happens after the snap – now also is taking on a bigger physical responsibility for this Bears’ offense. Fields hardly has time to catch his breath after a run before he has to regroup and lead his team back into the huddle.

A running back can take a play off if he’s gassed. A quarterback cannot. Because of all that, Fields said he’s going to take it a little bit easier in practice this week in order to save his legs for Sunday’s game against Atlanta. He’s cutting out any extra conditioning during the week.

“I get that conditioning, extra work during the game, and then recover during the week and get my body ready to go on Sunday,” Fields said Wednesday at Halas Hall.

Fields said the quarterbacks typically will do an extra gasser or two during practices. That won’t be a part of his routine this week. He’s also getting as much treatment as possible from the training staff to make sure he bounces back.

During the first five weeks of the season, Fields carried the ball 8.4 times per game. During the most recent five-week stretch, he has upped that to 12.4 carries per game. He ran for only 194 yards during the first five weeks compared with 555 yards in the past five games.

That is a staggering difference in wear and tear on Fields’ legs.

“The guys on the strength staff said that my load has been pretty high,” Fields said. “So [I’ve] just been doing a little bit of tapering back this week in practice.”

Falcons fan: Fields grew up in Atlanta. His dad had Falcons season tickets when he was younger. Fields said he particularly enjoyed watching Falcons star quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones, who teamed up for a decade.

Fields will have his family at the game Sunday when the Bears play the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Atlanta still is home for Fields. His parents still live there. His sister Jaiden Fields is on the softball team at the University of Georgia. His youngest sister, Jessica Fields, is a high school basketball standout with multiple Division I college offers.

Injury report: Running back David Montgomery missed practice Wednesday because of a personal reason.

Tight end Cole Kmet (thigh), right guard Teven Jenkins (hip), defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (knee) and cornerback Kindle Vildor (ankle) also sat out Wednesday. Safety Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) and cornerback Kyler Gordon (knee) were limited.

In more positive news, cornerback Jaylon Johnson, who dealt with an oblique injury last week and during Sunday’s game, did not appear on the injury report.

Transactions: The Bears activated linebacker Matt Adams off injured reserve. They also signed defensive end Taco Charlton, a 2017 first-round pick by Dallas, off the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad.

In a corresponding move, they waived linebacker A.J. Klein, whom they acquired from Baltimore in the trade for Roquan Smith.

Head coach Matt Eberflus was a coach with the Cowboys in 2017 when they drafted Charlton. The Bears added Charlton after releasing defensive end Kingsley Jonathan earlier this week. Charlton likely will be the fourth defensive end on the depth chart behind Trevis Gipson, Al-Quadin Muhammad and Dominique Robinson.

Charlton said Wednesday that he should be ready to play Sunday. He did not appear in any games this season with New Orleans. He has 11.5 sacks in 55 career games.

“It shouldn’t take me long just because it’s a defense I’m very familiar with,” Charlton said. “A lot of the terminology is very similar to what I’ve heard before.”

Charlton, who was wearing a chain with a gold taco around his neck, said he doesn’t currently have an endorsement with any taco restaurants, although during his rookie season he did have one with Taco Bueno, which is based in Texas. He’s excited to explore Chicago’s taco scene.

“I heard they have good not only Mexican food but Columbian food,” Charlton said. “I love all type of Latino food, so I’m excited to see what Chicago has to offer.”

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.