The Bears are 1-1 as they head into week 3, which is still better than what most thought they would be. However, in both games, Quarterback Justin Fields has attempted less than 20 passes. He attempted 17 in week 1 against San Francisco in a monsoon, and 11 against the Packers.
This has many fans and analysts asking one question: “Why?”
It’s likely one of two reasons. The first reason being the coaching staff and mainly play caller Luke Getsy doesn’t have any faith in the second year Quarterback. The other is that they don’t have any faith in the supporting cast around Justin Fields. The supporting cast was headlined at the start of the season by Wide Receiver Darnell Mooney and Tight End Cole Kmet. Mooney has 4 yards on the season and Kmet has 0 yards.
Defenses clearly have found out who the Bears top 2 options on offense are, and those options have been taken away. As a result of this, the Bears are going to need someone else to step up. Equanimeous St. Brown leads the team in receiving at 57 yards, with Dante Pettis being 2nd with 51. Pettis also only has 1 catch. Byron Pringle has been underwhelming, and expectations for him weren’t that high to begin with. So none of those guys seem to be candidates to break out.
There’s one more guy to have hope for, and I think that hope is justified. That guy is Velus Jones Jr.
Velus Jones Jr. is still trying to work his way back from a hamstring injury that has had him sidelined for the better part of a month. His speed, shiftiness, and overall big play ability will be something that scares defensive coordinators. Jones Jr. was doubtful the past couple of games and ended up being inactive for each of them. His return could certainly add a boost to the offense. N’Keal Harry also could be returning by week 5 or 6, so to a lesser extent, his return has reason for optimism as well.
It’s now on Luke Getsy to put together a game plan for Justin Fields against the Houston Texans that includes more of a passing game than the last 2 games. The Texans aren’t as good of a defense as the 49ers and Packers. More importantly Texans Head Coach Lovie Smith runs the same exact defense as Matt Eberflus, which is something that Fields could use to his advantage. Fields has gone up against this defense every day in practice, and the offense started to get the better of the defense in the final week or so of training camp.
A good game plan for this game will still feature a solid running game with David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. The big thing that’s going to be needed is schemed targets for Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet. Back late in the 2020 season, the Bears completely changed their offensive identity and the 2 most used players were David Montgomery and Cole Kmet. Kmet was used on bootlegs and play action passes and things like that will make the offense successful. Minnesota has always had a heavy play action game and it’s dramatically helped Kirk Cousins lead that team to a successful offensive season from a numbers perspective. The Bears need to do that because the talent level on offense is extremely low.
I’m not saying this game will 100% determine if Fields will be the long term answer at the Quarterback position, but this offense needs to get going, and I think everyone agrees on that.