The Bears have officially played NFL Football for the first time in the 2023 NFL Season! These were the biggest takeaways.
1. Fields has more breathing room
One statline stood out throughout the game. 3 passes. 100% completion percentage. 129 yards. 2 touchdowns. This was all accomplished by Justin Fields, the Bears third year QB. Out of all the starting quarterbacks that played this week, Fields arguably had the best performance. However, as NFL twitter has surely informed you, most of these yards came from YAC. Fields dumped the ball off and let his talented co-stars do the rest. So this proves that Fields is a fraud, right? Definitely not. The fact is that he simply has more help. Last year, we saw Fields running all over the field in order to give his team even a small chance to win. However, this year we’re seeing what one good free agency can do for a star quarterback. All he really had to do was read the field, realize who his best option was and throw the ball to them. He didn’t throw down the field not because he can’t, he just didn’t have to. Simply put, Fields has more options, the ability to do more, but also room to do less. And we knew he would have more breathing room after free agency, but now we are seeing it in action.
2. Defense has improved a noticeable amount, but still not great.
Last year the Bears defense showed a few flashes but overall couldn’t stop a fly from scoring if they tried. Just like the offense, they made some pretty big moves and thus showed a lot of improvement on Saturday. They were able to grab a few turnovers off the Titans QBs, and the linebackers really showed out. However, there are still some causes of concern. The Titans running backs (they didn’t play Henry) diced up this defense. This is likely due to a weaker defensive line, but the Titans running backs collectively had a solid day against this defense. The Bears defense is definitely in a good place right now, but still are a few steps away from being truly elite.
3. Velus Jones Jr. is not him
Velus Jones….I wish you were good. I’m not trying to overreact, but his career has not been great so far. He played in 10 games last season, and was basically a non-factor in the Bears offense as a rookie. He was also promised to be a threat on special teams but he also did not do anything worthwhile in that regard. Then, in his first preseason game, he muffed the first punt that came his way. Now, Bears fans are starting to question his usefulness to the team. He doesn’t propose anything of value to the offense and is almost a liability to the special teams. And if he doesn’t prove himself soon, he honestly might be cut as soon as this year.