Did the league not learn anything from Joe Burrow’s catastrophic knee injury last season?
It’s been proven that putting rookie quarterbacks on an island behind horrendous blocking is not a recipe for success. And if you are trying to protect the long-term asset that you invested a first-round pick in, then it’s not that smart to just throw him to the wolves out the gate.
Yet, that may be where Chicago Bears’ Head Coach Matt Nagy is trending now.
It’s the Bears’ final preseason matchup. It could just be something that the Chicago coaching staff is trying out to see how Fields looks with the ones for a half... or it could also be an indication that Fields is now the starter for good in Chicago (despite Nagy’s insistence that Andy Dalton is, for sure, his Week 1 guy).
If it’s the latter, the Bears might need to rethink this strategy. I know Fields is the most exciting option right now because of his mobility and his unmistakable talent. But he won’t be able to have success if you just throw him behind an offensive line that’s as putrid as the Bears are upfront right now.
I understand getting him the reps and the experience, but you have to look out for his health first. He’s your quarterback of the future and what no one wants to see is him getting seriously hurt because he had to come in and scramble 25 times a game because of offensive line breakdowns.
I believe Fields is the better option for Chicago, I believe he’s got way more talent than Andy Dalton. However, I also believe that Chicago needs to be smart about how they use Fields and not put him in unnecessarily dangerous situations.
At least give the offensive line a few games to gel and become comfortable with one another. It won’t transform them into a great offensive line, but it could at least make them average, so you don’t have to put your franchise quarterback in a situation where he’s running for his life every Sunday.
The Bears have a defense that is supposed to be pretty good on paper this season. They can hold down the fort and allow the Bears to ease Fields into the fold.
They don’t have to rush anything right now, and set him up for failure, or worse, injury — especially with an offensive line that’s looked the way that it has looked in the preseason.
Patience will be key with Fields and the rest of these young rookie quarterbacks.