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Hoge's Bears Things: Justin Fields not playing against the Colts is OK

Adam Hoge Avatar
August 18, 2023

WESTFIELD, Ind. — Bad news for those planning their Saturday night around the Bears game: Justin Fields won’t be playing.

Matt Eberflus announced the decision Thursday night following the Bears’ second joint practice against the Colts, and the reasoning makes sense. Fields got plenty of reps against an opponent in practice the last couple of days and took a few unnecessary shots along the way. Enough was accomplished this week to avoid the risk of injury Saturday night.

But has Fields accomplished enough this month to hold him out of next week’s preseason finale against Buffalo?

Eberflus kept the door open to Fields playing against the Bills next week, and that would be wise. If he doesn’t play next week, it would mean that he wouldn’t get any live game reps for almost exactly a month before facing off against the Packers in Week 1. Remember, he only threw three passes against the Titans last week, all of which were behind the line of scrimmage. 

For what it’s worth, Fields played the entire first half in the preseason finale last year, going 14-for-16 with 156 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Browns. If the reasoning for him not playing this week is because he got two padded practices against the Colts, it would stand to reason that Fields would play next week when there aren’t any joint practices. 

If Fields’ preseason is done, that means he only received seven total game snaps and didn’t throw a single pass beyond the line of scrimmage. In my opinion, that is too reminiscent of Matt Nagy not giving Mitch Trubisky any preseason snaps in 2019 — Trubisky, like Fields, was his third NFL season.

Since Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus got here, they’ve made smart, common-sense decisions in situations like this. I understand why Fields isn’t playing Saturday after joint practices, but my guess he plays a decent amount against the Bills next week. 

Up Next: The Bears and Colts will play Saturday night at 6 p.m. in Indianapolis and there’s still plenty to pay attention to, even if Fields and some of the starters don’t play. We’ll have you covered with a 5 p.m. CT pregame show and wrap it all up with a postgame show after the game. 

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