Justin Fields Is Great on the Move. Now If He Can Just Do Better From the Pocket.

Adam Jahns at The Athletic quotes Bears head coach Matt Eberflus on what he thought happened on Justin Fields‘ touchdown pass to Dante Pettis. Fields got outside the pocket and ran to his left and found Pettis open downfield on his right.

“As soon as the quarterback scrambles, you got to plaster your man in your area, and what happens is you got to plaster him with your eyes and your body,” Eberflus said. “Because what happens is, you start to look back and all of a sudden (the receiver) wiggles away and you lose him.”

It doesn’t matter if the secondary is playing zone — “(the 49ers) play a lot of zone; we play a lot of zone,” Eberflus said — or in single-high coverage, he explained.

“That’s probably what happened,” Eberflus said. “I’ve got to go back and look at the tape.”

“The vision by Justin to see that and throw it back there was a great play,” Eberflus said. “And that’s the kind of plays he can make. That’s what makes him dangerous because he can throw on-schedule throws but, man, he’s got the off-schedule throws, too.”

A couple things here.

First, Pettis didn’t just “wiggle” away from the 49ers coverage. The 49ers literally turned around and ran away from him in a mad effort to chase Fields down. It was a moment of terrible disciplne from the 49ers and one of numerous examples of the way that they handed the game to the Bears on a platter. You can bet that the Packers will not do that this week.

Second, the Packers are going to know very well, if not based upon the 49ers video then certainly based upon what happened last year, that they have to keep Fields in the pocket.

Fields did not perform well from the pocket in the first half of the game. He holds the ball too long just as he did last year. He will not truly develop as a good NFL quarterback until he learns to drop back and get rid of the ball quickly, especially given that the Bears offensive line is young and developing and not likely to protect provide him with long periods of protection. I understand that’s not easy to do when your wide receivers aren’t good enough to get open on their own. But Fields has to learn to throw them open.

The Packers pass rush will be far more disciplined than the 49ers.

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