Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears warms up before kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium
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For Justin Fields, a 'Perfect Storm' Is Brewing in 2023

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is ready to take the next step in his evolution as an NFL QB this season.

The time is now for Justin Fields.

After the Chicago Bears and general manager Ryan Poles spent the offseason bolstering the personnel around the young quarterback as he enters his third season, the pieces appear to be in place for Fields to build on the significant flashes he showed in 2022.

Fields finished as the NFL's seventh-leading rusher in 2022, posting 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns to go with his career-high 2,242 passing yards with 17 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Now, the question becomes whether Fields can take the next major step in his evolution and become equally dangerous with his right arm as he is with his legs.

"He's put in a ton of work this year," Quincy Avery, Fields' trainer told FanBuzz. "Just refining a lot of little things. He's in a really good spot. This is the perfect storm, this is the thing that I see in the offseason when guys do make that big jump. I saw it with Jalen Hurts. I think we're going to see it with Justin."

Internally, the Bears are equally optimistic.

According to sources inside Halas Hall, the Bears believe Fields is in for a strong season, especially as he enters his second in offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's system.

Those expectations are reverberating around the league.

"I expect the game to slow down for Justin this season," an AFC Scouting Director told FanBuzz, on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about another team. "They have helped him with some personnel on offense, namely D.J. Moore. He still will have challenges in passing from the pocket, but he should be exciting when he goes off script. He needs to limit the hits he will take, but he can't give up running the football. That's what makes him special."

Bears Building a Juggernaut Around Justin Fields

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 12: Khalil Herbert #24 and DJ Moore #2 of the Chicago Bears celebrate after a touchdown in the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 12, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Poles and the Bears have pushed all their chips into the middle of the table betting on Fields. Thanks to the addition of Moore, the dynamic field-stretching wide receiver, the return of Darnell Mooney, arrival of top free agent guard Nate Davis and incoming rookie tackle Darnell Wright, the Bears are hoping the 24-year-old quarterback will take his place among the game's top quarterbacks.

All eyes, are on Fields, along with some incredible pressure, to follow in the footsteps of Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia, Joe Burrow in Cincinnati, or even Daniel Jones in New York, who all made significant strides thanks to the arrival of new weapons and schemes built around their best traits. But, what are reasonable expectations for Fields in his pivotal third NFL season? How can Fields deliver on the promise of the lofty potential he showed at Ohio State? FanBuzz spoke to those closest to Fields, and evaluators across the league to get a sense for what to expect from the Bears' quarterback in 2023.

Much like A.J. Brown's arrival via in Philadelphia via a draft night blockbuster trade elevated Hurts to a legitimate MVP contender last season, the Bears are hoping for similar results from prying Moore away from the Carolina Panthers as part of Chicago's deal to move down from the No. 1 overall pick to the No. 9 selection.

"There's no reason why he can't be a poor-man's Jalen Hurts," an NFC Personnel Executive told FanBuzz. "That's the way I saw him coming out of college. I liked Hurts a little more, but I liked both of those guys in terms of their upside. I think they both have enough talent to be franchise quarterbacks, physically. Hurts has proven mentally that he can do it, which is very important. To get to the playoffs and the Super Bowl, that's huge for a young quarterback.

"I think Fields has a chance. If you put enough talent around him, you can definitely win with him as your quarterback."

Moore arrives in the Windy City, and into Fields' arsenal, off catching 63 passes for 888 yards and seven touchdowns in spite of shoddy and inconsistent quarterback play in Carolina.

"Anytime you add a top-tier receiver to your offense," Avery explains. "I think it only allows things to get a little bit easier. You've seen massive jumps from other quarterbacks after they've added a significant weapon in the game like that.

"It's going to make it easier for the other receivers in that offense; Darnell Mooney, who had to play as a No. 1 last year, probably gets to move to the No. 2 spot, and now he gets to go against the second-best cornerback, now he's going to be more open. It has a trickle down effect to all the guys. I think it's going to really allow Justin to take off and take the next step."

How Justin Fields Completes Next Step of His Evolution

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 12: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears passes in the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 12, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

For Fields to climb the rankings among the NFL's elite quarterbacks, and the Bears to build on last season's woefully disappointing 3-14 campaign, Fields is going to need to significantly improve his 59.7 completion percentage, create more sustained drives, and quick-hitting touchdown strikes alike.

Through months of training, and after hours upon hours of film study of Fields' first two seasons, Avery believes there is a simple box for Fields to check in order to take his place among the game's elite.

"Justin becomes one of the best quarterback in the league when he hits all the layups," Avery says. "When you make all the routine plays really routine, and I think that he's at a spot right now where he's doing that. We've seen the explosive, the crazy, the electric plays, all those different things. I think that next step for him is making the routine stuff really, really easy. It's going to drive his completion percentage up, and then teams are going to have hell to pay against him at the quarterback position."

Before Fields exacts that toll from opposing defenses, there are certainly areas of his game that must improve, including protecting himself.

Last season, Fields absorbed 55 sacks. He's been sacked 91 times through his first two seasons. That's a lot of extra hits to withstand for a quarterback who also logged 232 rushing attempts through his first 27 games.

"Taking off and running is not offense," an NFL quarterback's coach told FanBuzz. "Justin really needs to improve on everything, especially off last year."

For Fields, the combination of experience in the Bears' system, improved personnel, and a relentless commitment to continuing to develop as a passer will be critical to him making strides this fall.

"It's a matter of reps," Avery says. "He had the opportunity to go through a full season with that coaching staff, and then getting to go through another offseason has helped him understand the things they're trying to do, understanding the system, all those things.

"The way that they play the game, they have some really good systems in place that allow you to be successful, but they only allow you to be successful when you go through the number of reps he's gone through ... When you understand after my first hitch I have to get my eyes over here, those little details that make you successful at quarterback, I think he's mastered those."

Presuming the game does slow down for Fields, and he takes care of both his body and the football — having turned it over 22 times through two seasons, the Bears should be in good shape. And not just in 2023.

"I think Fields has a chance," the NFC Executive says. "If you put enough talent around him, you can definitely win with him as your quarterback."

"If I was a GM right now, and someone told me that I couldn't have Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, or any of those cats in the first-tier, I'd take Justin Fields first from that next tier. Just to start a team, because I like his physical maturity, his mental maturity, that kid was a stud everywhere he's been. Who knows if he'll be an All-Pro, but they can win with him."

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