Is Justin Fields Listening to the Coaches?

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes about the woes of the Chicago Bears when they try to score points late in close games.

“If a lesson is to be learned from (QB Tom) Brady, it’s that sometimes you have to take what the defense offers. He put on a master class last Monday on the final two drives by rallying the Bucs almost exclusively with passes thrown underneath. If the defense is going to take away something — deep throws down the middle and vertical boundary routes — it’s going to open up something else.

“That’s where the Bears ran into trouble against the Packers with a deep dig route to Equanimeous St. Brown that Jaire Alexander intercepted at the Green Bay 28-yard line with 2:52 remaining and the Packers leading 20-19.”

“Instead, Fields could have hit running back David Montgomery as a check-down target, picked up 5 yards and moved to second down in a situation in which a field goal at the end of the game would have won it.”

I haven’t had must time to check the previous game recordings but I am not surprised that this is the problem that Biggs identified. I’ve long suspected it.

Fields is a big play hunter. Time after time with the game on the line he’s been holding the ball and holding the ball and holding the ball, apparently waiting for guys to get open downfield so that he can gain all the yardage he needs at once. Eventually he gets sacked by defensive linemen who know he has to pass and can just rush the passer or he throws the ball into the coverage. This is not the way to handle a two minute situation.

What worries me isn’t that the Fields is doing this. He’s a young quarterback and you would expect him to make mistakes.

What worries me is that I am 99% sure that the coaching staff has told him not to do this. It’s far too obvious that there’s plenty of time left on the clock and Fields should be hitting these underneath routes. This is not brain surgery and there’s no way that any coach, much less one that has worked with Aaron Rodgers like offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has, hasn’t noticed this and hasn’t tried to pointed it out to him on film.

So I’m left to wonder. Why has Fields not been listening to advice on this topic? Is it just impatience? Could it be that he doesn’t trust the players around him to execute a long drive correctly?

I don’t know. But I will tell you this. Assuming that common sense is prevailing and he’s getting the right messages from the coaching staff (and admittedly I am assuming that) if he wants to be a Brady or a Peyton Manning, he’s going to have to take coaching.

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