Over the past few weeks, Justin Fields has shot into superstardom. After a slow start to his second NFL season, he managed to surpass all expectations (which were sky high) as both a passer and runner. Now, following another close loss, his body is bearing the burden of a sub-par offensive line. Fields suffered a shoulder injury late in the game and has since undergone an MRI. He also seemed to need treatment on his hamstrings throughout the game. As the Bears game plan for the New York Jets, Luke Getsy and Matt Eberflus should rule Justin Fields out entirely, regardless of his official diagnosis.
Many have criticized Getsy’s reliance on Fields’ running abilities in recent games. Calling two designed QB runs for a battered player in a two-minute drill was a mistake, but Fields is generally good at protecting himself. Aside from occasional late hits that allude referees, he bounces out of bounds when able and slides when necessary. The more concerning hits seem to come when he is inside the pocket.
Chicago’s offensive line is bad. Without Lucas Patrick and Teven Jenkins, it’s even worse. Atlanta sacked Fields four times and delivered several punishing pressures. In terms of sustainability, Fields is at a greater risk standing in the pocket than he is out in the open field.
The broader game plan works and it will work in the future. Right now, potential injury to Fields is the biggest concern. Until the offensive line is in a better position to protect the face of the franchise and he is no longer battling injury, there is no sense in playing Fields against the Jets.
Don’t put him in the lineup. Don’t even put him on the plane. He is the best chance Chicago has for a promising future and can’t risk a debilitating injury. We know what we have and can look toward building a formidable team in the offseason. If he is 100% ready to go against the Packers, great. If not, let Trevor Siemian cook them up. At this point, Green Bay is eating its own tail and could fall for anything.
As the week goes on, the entire league will listen for news from Halas Hall. For now, all we can do is hope for the best.