Who Is To Blame For The Bears’ Passing Woes?

Last season, the Bears had a dismal passing attack, finishing 30th in the league in total passing yards. Some of the issues were an inexperienced QB in rookie Justin Fields, an oft-injured Andy Dalton and Allen Robinson, and poor offensive play-calling and scheme from the likes of now-replaced Matt Nagy and Bill Lazor. Coming into the 2022 season, things were hoping to at least look a little better in terms of the passing game. For starters, Justin Fields was the unquestioned starter coming into the season and was able to get a full offseason as QB1. Along with a more experienced Fields, new head coach Matt Eberflus was able to pry Luke Getsy away from the Green Bay Packers and coined him as their new offensive coordinator. Getsy, previously the QB coach at Green Bay, brings in a Shanahan style offense that looks to take advantage of Fields strengths as a quarterback. However, through the first two games of the 2022 season the Bears have only attempted 28 passes and rank dead last in pass yards per game at 76. The Giants are 31st in passing with 159 per game, to put it in perspective.

Two areas are to blame for the passing game, and we will look at each. The first being weather. It’s still early in the season and because of that half of the Bears games have been played in hurricane like conditions. In that game, Fields only attempted 17 passes while completing 8 of them. As most fans know, the game was played in a steady rain with prior rains absolutely soaking the field. As Fields said, it was extremely hard for him to grip the ball and get a consistent throw on each pass. Along with the weather, the defense actually stepped up and played pretty well, allowing the Bears to bleed clock with the run game once they took the lead in the second half.

The second area of blame will be Justin Fields. As was the case last year, Fields is notorious for holding onto the ball too long. Too many times in the pocket it seems that Fields will have receivers come open down field, but will not pull the trigger and take off for a scramble or take a sack. Now, it’s not all on Fields as the receivers need to get open and Getsy needs to scheme better. Also, with a quarterback such as Fields, there will always be the tendency for him to rather abort the pocket and take off for a five yard run rather than take a shot down field. This was on full display during the Packers game as on multiple occasions Fields opted to run for first downs/touchdowns as opposed to passing. This isn’t a bad thing, but it ultimately makes it seem the ball is being run more than being passed.

I don’t believe Getsy is to blame for the lack of passing attack. He actually called a pretty balanced game on Sunday night. It was Fields scrambling and the successful rushing attack that made it seem more lopsided. I also do not believe it is an issue with Fields not reading defenses. He is still young and there will be a learning curve, especially in a new offense. There is a good amount of film from last year that shows Fields can comfortably push the ball down field against the Lions and Steelers. It will just take time for him to do it consistently on a week-to-week basis. Getsy by nature is a quarterback, and in his press conference today he reiterated that he likes to pass the ball. Going forward, the Bears will not be playing elite defenses in the 49ers and Packers (and hopefully not playing in any more monsoons). So look for the Bears to establish the passing attack and get Fields throwing with more comfort.
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