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Good morning, Chicago!
The Bears’ first preseason game takes place this Saturday and it feels like things are about to get real for Justin Fields.
The grace period of his rookie season is over.
The constraints of Matt Nagy’s whoopee cushion offense is no longer an excuse.
No matter how many snaps he gets against the Chiefs at Soldier Field, Fields is about to slide under a microscope he’s yet to experience. It won’t end until the season concludes in five or six months.
Maybe that’s fair, maybe it isn’t. But it’s the reality of the 2022 Chicago Bears season. While so much else around QB1 looks unfinished, Fields is the lone man facing concrete expectations.
Anything else can happen, but we need Fields to show he’s the guy for the future.
We all hope he is, of course. Anyone in this fanbase born after World War II has spent an entire life not knowing what it’s like to root for a franchise quarterback. Fields’ apparent physical and leadership skills represent an opportunity to finally find out.
But how big of a jump must Fields make?
And how much patience will he receive?
For the latter part, it depends on who you’re asking. Some Bears fans are quicker to dismiss quarterbacks than others. (If you’re not this type of fan, you probably know at least a few.)
Also, we’re not even sure how much time Ryan Poles wants to invest, seeing as how he’s not tied to Fields like Ryan Pace was to Mitch Trubisky.
As far as improvement, I think the test should be several games of watching Fields overcome the situation around him and helping the team succeed anyway.
Good quarterbacks can elevate their play no matter the quality of the receivers room, the uncertainty of the offensive line or the conservative nature of the coaching. They don’t need qualifiers or excuses.
Does Fields belong in that group?
We’re about to start finding out.
CHGO Head of Content
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The Week Ahead
• Is this heaven? No, it’s the Field of Dreams game starring the last-place Cubs. Thursday night’s date in the corn with the Reds should still be fun, though and it’s better that Willson Contreras and Ian Happ will be there.
• The White Sox hit Kansas City for four games then come back home for three against Detroit. They’re coming off a 4-3 week and remain where they were last Monday — two games behind Minnesota in the AL Central.
• The Sky clinched their first 25-win season with a victory over Connecticut on Sunday. They hold a two-game lead for the top playoff seed with three games to play. The regular season home finale is Tuesday against Seattle.
• The Fire remain hot with Saturday’s 3-2 win in Charlotte putting the team on the right side of the playoff line. Patrick McCraney has four big questions about the sizzling club.
• The Red Stars head west next Sunday to face Angel City. They staged a nice rebound from the San Diego loss with a 2-0 win over Gotham FC in Bridgeview last night.
• Five Blackhawks prospects will take part in the World Junior Championship that starts this week, though recent first-round draft pick Frank Nazar was a last-minute cut for the United States team.
⭐️ Not an All-Star! ❌
But he’s breaking records anyway.
Rep the South Side’s Cy candidate with our latest shirt drop