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LAKE FOREST — Against the Packers in Week 1, Justin Fields saw zero coverage on second-and-9 from Green Bay’s 20-yard line. He checked the protection and got the offense in a better position to handle the Packers’ five-man rush.
With time to throw in the pocket, Fields delivered a ball to Darnell Mooney toward the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
The ability to diagnose what was going on pre-snap is just one area where offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has seen Fields develop.
“Like from this point from last year to now, like he handles that pre-snap stuff so well,” Getsy said. “And like he’s not getting caught off guard by stuff and so then you take from that point on and go play the play, that comes from playing, that comes from the experience, it’s the job of the coach to give them the information, let them absorb it and then go out and practice it and try it and do it each week, and I think each week he handles it much better, each and every week, since the time that we’ve got here.”
Getsy has also recognized Fields’ growth at the quarterback position in the plays that haven’t worked. Fields knows he should’ve leaned into his instincts more in the Week 2 loss to the Buccaneers, and that realization to Getsy is a sign of progress.
“There’s a few plays in the game that he wishes he had different reactions,” Getsy said. “He refers to them as instincts, let his instincts take over, right? And that is real. That is what he has special talent. He has special instincts and I think at the same time when you want to throw a route, I know the one play that everyone talks about DJ clapping on the backside or whatever because he was stuck on Moon, right? He wanted to throw that sail route to Moon and Moon got disrupted because he was pressed.
“So he was trying to give him an extra hitch and then it ended up taking a little too long. That’s part of the evolution. You give him a hitch, you think he’s gonna win, you maybe give him one more then it’s time to move on. And whether that’s moving on in your progression or whether that’s moving on with your feet, protection was pretty good until he took a few too many hitches. And those are the types of plays that we’ve’ got to continue to get better at. We work on ‘em every single day here. We’re working on pocket presence. We’re working on those situations, when it’s time to go and when it’s time to progress. That’s the evolution of a quarterback.”
Since Getsy has arrived and paired up with Fields in Chicago, the duo has had its fair share of ups and downs. And their relationship, from an outsider’s perspective, appeared to be tested after Fields’ public comments about being overcoached at times — which the young quarterback took back after during an impromptu meeting with the media in the locker room.
“I think you saw his passion and reaction when we got back in from the practice field, and how he felt,” Getsy said. “He’s such a guy of high character. He’s so passionate. He wants to win as much as anybody in the building. But it’s more important for him to be a man of character, and I think that part of it, the fact he felt it got challenged, bothered him more than anything else. Our relationship, our partnership, is outstanding. I think that part of it, we’re going to continue to grow. I have no questions about that.”
Getsy and Fields aren’t giving up on each other. There is far too much football to be played for that to happen.
The 2023 season hasn’t gone according to plan, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been bits of progress. Getsy sees growth in Fields, and now the quarterback needs to continue stacking those positives and put it all together for the team to get back on track.
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