LAKE FOREST – Ryan Poles has his quarterback.
And that quarterback is Justin Fields. The Bears general manager told reporters on Tuesday Fields will be the starter next season, and even though the organization owns the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, it would take a lot to consider another quarterback
“We’re gonna do the same as we’ve always done,” Poles said. “We’re gonna evaluate the draft class, and I would say this: I would have to be absolutely blown away to make that type of decision.”
Poles liked what he saw from Fields in the 15 games that he played in 2022 – highlighting his ability to “be impactful with his legs.” Poles also mentioned he saw flashes in the passing game, but there is still room for improvement for the 23-year-old quarterback.
“As a passer, just for things to slow down mentally, and then be able to react and anticipate quicker,” Poles said. “Obviously with that, we also have to continue to build around him so that he can do that consistently as well.”
This season, the Bears finished with the least amount of passing yards (2,219), and a lot of the blame for the lack of production does get put on Fields, but Poles has a simple solution for determining who is really at fault.
“Yeah, so you always start with film,” Poles said. “You start with film and then we will get together as a staff, especially with Luke (Getsy), with (Andrew) Janocko and kind of talk about how to even prioritize where he needs to start to improve.”
When Poles was asked what moments excited him from Fields, he mentioned some of the explosive plays that he made midseason. Like the touchdown throw to Dante Pettis on Monday Night Football.
“Those deep ball throws that we know he can make,” Poles said. “Now it’s just closing the gap and being consistent with it. And again, the beautiful thing about football is you can never point at one person and say, ‘It’s his fault.’ No, it’s a collective where everything’s gotta work together. I know and we know if we continue to grow this football team and bring in a lot of good players, that everyone’s going to get better collectively.”
This season, Poles learned about Fields’ resiliency and his hard-working mentality. And once Fields’ ability to pass meshes with his running capabilities, Poles believes the Bears will have “something really good.”