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How Andrew Janocko and the three-step passing game can elevate Justin Fields and the Bears offense

Nicholas Moreano Avatar
May 24, 2022

Andrew Janocko is all about the details. 

The Bears’ quarterbacks coach’s attention to detail was evident the first time he worked with Justin Fields in voluntary minicamp. After Fields made a handoff, executed a rollout or threw a pass, Janocko immediately went up to the second-year quarterback to discuss the rep. 

It makes sense that everything is under the microscope. Janocko is in his first year with the Bears after spending the last seven seasons in Minnesota. He is also working with the Bears’ most important player and helping instill the proper mechanics for an offense that is still being created. 

But Janocko isn’t just hyperfocused on the field, this mentality also carries over in the quarterbacks room and also the virtual classroom – CoachTube. It’s a website that provides “access to online training from the world’s best coaches.”

In “Andrew Janocko – QB reads and progressions with The 3 Step Quick Game” Janocko breaks down multiple layers on how the quick game works. He also lists details that he looks for in a quarterback and how this type of offense can benefit everyone involved.

Now, this course is one of over 2,000 football courses that are available on CoachTube. So, if you want to learn more about football and all the different layers of the sport, definitely check it out.

After watching the video, here are some of my top takeaways and how it might pertain to Justin Fields and the Bears this season.

Footwork is everything 

The course is divided into four sections and under the “Training the QB” part there is a subcategory called “Footwork.” Here is how Janocko immediately starts this section. 

“Footwork, footwork is everything. It’s more than arm talent, OK. It’s more than what you can do athletically. Footwork is everything.”

These words echo what Janocko told the media during the first week of OTAs. 

“Everything is about timing and rhythm in the NFL,” Janocko said. “If you can get the ball out on time and you can listen to what your feet are telling you, then that helps you progress, helps you get through reads, helps you feel a defense and tells you when you’re late and need to move on.”

Fields’ ability to have clean footwork will build that anticipation needed in an offense under Luke Getsy that will emphasize getting the ball out quickly. 

Another important aspect involving footwork is how Fields can gain depth when he is under center. 

In a three-step drop, the first step (or reach) creates a majority of that depth, while the crossover (throttle) step helps level out a quarterback’s shoulders and then the final step (plant) provides balance, which will help the quarterback be on time with the throw. 

Fields has worked with Getsy to change up his footwork while in the shotgun, now having his left forward instead of his right.

Benefits of the quick game

Way back at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Bears coach Matt Eberflus noted the importance of getting the ball out quickly.

In the course, which was recorded while Janocko was still with the Vikings, Janocko mentioned he is big into analytics and shared that “the top 10 (offenses) average more three step than the bottom 10.”

There were several reasons for this.

One of the many benefits of utilizing a quick game, according to Janocko, is that it creates tempo and rhythm within a game and a series. Something that was clearly lacking during Fields’ rookie season. Also, Janocko mentioned three-step drops help young quarterbacks because the reads are simplified.

This then speeds up the processing speed for a quarterback, which should minimize sacks and overall hits. Fields was sacked 38 times last season despite playing just 12 games.

The Bears’ offensive line also didn’t provide Fields with much help last season, but the quick game helps out the entire O-line unit as well. Janocko said that the offensive line can change their pass sets, which means the players can play more aggressive and attack the defensive line instead of setting back. 

The last benefit Janocko talked about is the quick game allows for catch and run potential. According to NBC Sports, the Bears finished 30th in the league in yards after catch for receivers with 1,644. 

Darnell Mooney, Bryon Pringle and third-round pick Velus Jones Jr. all have 4.4 speed or lower. So there should be an emphasis to get these wide receivers the ball in space.

The don’ts of the quick game

Of course, the quick game isn’t perfect. And according to Janocko, there are four “mortal sins” that will completely destroy any quick game scheme. 

To start, backing up after hitting the third step in the drop throws off everything. Quarterbacks that do this allow defenders “to close.” 

“The one thing I will say is that more sacks happen in a three-step game after that third step hits when the quarterback continues to retreat,” Janocko said. “We analyzed all of the sacks throughout the league based on three-step drops this year and the majority, I think over 60 percent happens when the quarterback is indecisive and backs up.”

Pro Football Focus charted sack credit, which determines if pass blocking or the quarterback is responsible for sacks. Fields charted fairly high last season – making him responsible for roughly 15 of his 38 sacks. 

Second on the list of things that can disrupt the quick game is having poor ball security. 

“When you hold that football in your hand, you’re holding everybody’s livelihood in your hand, you’re holding everybody’s jobs in your hand,” Janocko said. “The quarterback touches that on every play.”

During Fields’ rookie season, he had a problem with hanging on to the football. Fields finished tied for third in fumbles with 12. 

The third “mortal sin” is indecisiveness, which no doubt correlates to sacks and fumbles. Janocko mentioned that indecisiveness is caused by “not knowing your starting point, not knowing the expectation of the play or not trusting your read.”

Finally, the last sin is being too cute with design. This obviously is directed towards the coaching. Simply put, Janocko said take what the defense is giving you and don’t overcomplicate things. 

There are a lot of moving parts for the Bears’ offense this season, but Janocko believes he is the right person to help elevate Fields in his pivotal second season.

“I just think that I’m going to be somebody that is going to support him,” Janocko said. “I’m going to be very loyal to him, very loyal to anybody that comes into that room, to coach Luke and just go to work and do whatever they need to support them and lift those guys up.”

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