Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields: ‘I was a little bit too conservative’ in season opener

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields escapes the pass rush of Green Bay Packers linebacker Quay Walker during their game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

LAKE FOREST – Justin Fields saw the same thing on tape that many Bears fans did.

“I felt like I was a little bit too conservative at times during the game,” Fields said Wednesday at Halas Hall. “Definitely with guys like DJ and Chase on the outside, if we do have one-on-one on the outside, potentially throwing it up and seeing what happens.”

Receiver DJ Moore caught only two passes, and Chase Claypool didn’t catch any in the Bears’ loss to the Packers on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Fields attempted only four passes more than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. In a game where he attempted 37 passes, that was extremely low. His average intended air yards, per NFL Next Gen Stats, was 3.3 yards downfield.

The Bears have a week to address the problem. Fields wants to be more aggressive in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Moore especially, if Fields sees one-on-one coverage, he knows he has to have the confidence to let it fly. Claypool, too, has a big frame and has made tough catches in the NFL.

“With them, they’re great playmakers, and they can most likely come up with a 50-50 ball,” Fields said. “Definitely want to give them more chances deep down the field.”

With [Moore and Claypool], they’re great playmakers and they can most likely come up with a 50-50 ball. Definitely want to give them more chances deep down the field.”

—  Justin Fields, Bears quarterback

The Packers played a ton of zone against Fields and the Bears on Sunday. That doesn’t typically afford as many one-on-one matchups.

Earlier this week, Eberflus brought up the notion that Fields needs to keep looking downfield when he scrambles. Everybody knows what Fields can do with his legs. Fields rushed for 59 yards on nine attempts in Sunday’s game, and he totaled more than 1,100 rushing yards in 15 games last season.

But the Bears want him to run less this season. That was evident by the lack of designed runs they drew up in the game against the Packers. Fields himself has said he doesn’t want to rush for 1,000 yards again. He, instead, has set his sights on throwing for 4,000 passing yards in a season, something no Bears quarterback has ever done.

If that’s going to happen, Fields has to become comfortable throwing when plays break down.

“You’ve got to look for the opportunity,” Eberflus said. “Then, if it’s not there, then you go. If it is there, then you take your shot. That’s really it.”

Eberflus said the Bears can practice the scramble drill. They do it in team periods and in 7-on-7. Fields said he felt like there was maybe only one play in Sunday’s game where he scrambled and should’ve thrown the ball to an open Moore.

Otherwise, there was nothing there, in his opinion.

“You just pick and choose,” Fields said. “And it’s kind of an instinct thing where you always want to get away from the defenders and make sure you’re clean on the backside and, of course, if you have time to make a throw downfield, then that’s what you do.”

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.