There was some optimism surrounding the Chicago Bears and quarterback Justin Fields coming into the 2023 season. The front office did a good job of upgrading the roster in the offseason, adding talent on both sides of the ball to help elevate the performance of the team.
However, through two weeks, it has been the same old Bears we have seen in recent years. The team was dominated by the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, losing 38-20 before dropping a game 27-17 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2.
There are a lot of reasons for the team’s struggles through two games, but a lot of fingers are being pointed at Justin Fields. He doesn’t look to have made the kind of strides people were hoping for, as Chicago play calls have gone viral on social media for how comically bad they are.
That, in the opinion of Stephen A. Smith, is part of the problem. When he sees the Bears, he sees an organization that is failing a young quarterback. On a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take, Smith went to bat for Justin Fields, hypothesizing he wants out of Chicago and that the organization is to blame for his struggles.
“I know it’s real popular to look at Justin Fields. I’m gonna tell you what I see in Justin Fields,” Smith said. “I see somebody that’s not being developed. I see somebody that’s not growing. And more importantly, I see apathy kicking in, if not despondency. He knows what kind of situation he’s in. He doesn’t want to be there, and I don’t blame him one bit.”
“That’s how I feel. I don’t know, I haven’t heard that, but I’m surmising that he does not want to be there,” Smith continued.
When taking a look at how the coaching staff has handled things this season, Smith is onto something. At this point, Justin Fields’ best asset is his legs and producing as a runner. For whatever reason, the Bears aren’t leaning into that.
Instead, they are trying to make him something that he is not; a pocket passer. Only four designed runs have been called for Justin Fields this season, as the Bears are making life easy for their opponents by not running him more.
No one was spared from Smith, as he piled onto everyone. The coaching staff, front office and wide receivers around Justin Fields were all caught in the crossfire.
“It is a bad, bad situation from the top on down. He has no help whatsoever. I know they got D.J. Moore in the offseason, he’s supposed to be a primary weapon. [Chase] Claypool has been a major disappointment … but Claypool, with all due respect … we see why the [Pittsburgh] Steelers got rid of you. So it’s not looking good, you better turn it around.
I can’t look at Justin Fields, with that talent, and say that’s him. That’s not him. If this brother was in another organization he would not look like this. This is an indictment against the Chicago Bears organization.”
A lot of what Smith is saying is true. The Bears made moves to help elevate Justin Fields’ supporting cast but things have yet to work out. The struggles of the offensive line are the biggest issue as they cannot protect their quarterback.
Now 5-22 as a starter in his career, Justin Fields is running out of time to prove he can be a franchise quarterback. The Bears certainly haven’t done much to help him as all of the money they spent this offseason is yet to bear fruit on the field.