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Bill Lazor; The Plan To Develop Justin Fields


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2 hours ago, G08 said:

I mean pick your argument... either they're one of the worst defenses in the NFL or Trubisky played a bigger role than you're letting on for the team's offensive output.

False dichotomy. They were one of the worst defenses. The Bears didn't score against them in week 10 for a number of reasons, including injuries, coaching, and poor play from several players.

Same defense allowed 52 and 35 points in the last 2 weeks of the season.

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4 hours ago, abstract_thought said:

False dichotomy. They were one of the worst defenses. The Bears didn't score against them in week 10 for a number of reasons, including injuries, coaching, and poor play from several players.

Same defense allowed 52 and 35 points in the last 2 weeks of the season.

Every offensive starter was the same except for Montgomery and Mustipher. Try again.

Coaching did make a difference when a scheme was run that suited the starting QBs talents, we agree here.

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16 hours ago, G08 said:

Every offensive starter was the same except for Montgomery and Mustipher. Try again.

Coaching did make a difference when a scheme was run that suited the starting QBs talents, we agree here.

We replaced one of the worst linemen in the NFL and got back our feature RB… But other than that the personnel was the same...

The offense Nagy reverted to wasn’t even possible in week 10 unless you like the idea of giving 30 carries to Cordarelle Patterson.

If tailoring the offense to Mitch was such a success, why did the same offense immediately fail against teams that weren’t awful? Why did they score a combined 25 points in the 2 most important games of the season?

Edited by abstract_thought
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1 hour ago, abstract_thought said:

We replaced one of the worst linemen in the NFL and got back our feature RB… But other than that the personnel was the same...

The offense Nagy reverted to wasn’t even possible in week 10 unless you like the idea of giving 30 carries to Cordarelle Patterson.

If tailoring the offense to Mitch was such a success, why did the same offense immediately fail against teams that weren’t awful? Why did they score a combined 25 points in the 2 most important games of the season?

I think the point is more that the offense when tailored to Mitch’s strengths was more effective than it was forcing Mitch to run the offense Nagy wanted Mitch to be able to run but couldn’t. The failures of the offense in the GB and NO games at the end of the year weren’t just on the QB either. You could look at how those two games played out and pretty easily conclude that the failure in the Mitch-tailored offense after flourishing for a month came when the speed element was lost.

The offensive failures against GB were primarily in the 4th quarter. Through 3 quarters we had 16 points (a 21-point pace against a team that allowed 23.1 ppg during the season) and Mitch had 181 yards passing. That’s pretty passable IMO. Not good, but adequate against a quality opponent. Certainly not ineffective. Mooney got hurt early 4th quarter and after that we had a drive stall out on downs followed by an INT, and a 21-16 game became 35-16. The entire gameplan in this game was built around Mooney (13 targets and 11 catches in 3+ quarters), and by and large it was reasonably effective. Mooney didn’t play against NO due to the injury which took away any speed threat. Our WRs in that game against a good secondary were Robinson (shadowed by a star CB in Lattimore), Miller, Wims and Ridley, otherwise recognized as Robinson, a career underachiever and 2 fringe NFL players. Wims dropped a clear TD in the first half and Miller got tossed from the game. 

It’s certainly not a coincidence that we added sub-4.4 guys in Goodwin and Byrd this offseason to eliminate the overreliance on one guy for the speed element (in addition to getting Cohen back).

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3 hours ago, abstract_thought said:

The offense Nagy reverted to wasn’t even possible in week 10 unless you like the idea of giving 30 carries to Cordarelle Patterson.

10 of those carries came in the 4th quarter while the Bears had the lead.

 

3 hours ago, abstract_thought said:

If tailoring the offense to Mitch was such a success, why did the same offense immediately fail against teams that weren’t awful?

See what @AZBearsFan said above.

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  • 4 weeks later...

And he'll get his chance to prove it.  We've got three preseason games coming up in which Fields is scheduled to take far more snaps than Dalton.  Let's see what he can do with that.

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What’s next for Justin Fields? Bears see real progress but stick to plan with rookie QB

https://theathletic.com/2773208/2021/08/16/whats-next-for-justin-fields-bears-see-real-progress-but-stick-to-plan-with-rookie-qb/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983

Aug 14, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs with the ball during the second quarter in a preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Eileen T. Meslar-USA TODAY Sports
By Adam Jahns Aug 16, 2021

When it came to evaluating rookie quarterback Justin Fields’ first preseason game with the Bears, it was the short passes that mattered more to those in charge of his development.

The first one came with 34 seconds remaining in the first half and the Bears facing a second-and-3 from their own 30-yard line. Fields stepped up in the pocket, started to run then stopped. Instead of scrambling, Fields hit rookie running back Khalil Herbert, his checkdown receiver, to his left. Herbert quickly got out of bounds after a 7-yard gain.

Two plays later, Fields did it again with 22 seconds left before halftime. As Nagy said, Fields “stayed within the progression” before checking it down to Herbert, who broke a tackle, gained 5 yards and stepped out of bounds.

“Herbert did what we asked him to do, which was get your butt out of bounds; he did that twice,” Nagy said Monday. “And (quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo) and I were talking about that the other day. That was one of coach Flip’s favorite plays of the game, (Fields) staying in rhythm with his feet, top down and not panicking. You watch his eyes. He went to the post route and then in his progression, he just slightly moved his eyes and his feet down to Herbert, gave it to him and trusted Herbert to get out of bounds.

“That’s not easy to do. A lot of guys will scramble, run around, waste four seconds and throw the ball away. He didn’t. He stayed within his progression. So I think he’s growing in that area. And he knows it, too. He says, ‘Coach, I got to try to check the ball down sometimes, too.’”

When it comes to Fields’ growth as a quarterback, it’s plays like those checkdowns that show his coaches that progress is being made within their plan for him. Earlier this month, it’s what Nagy said he wanted to see from Fields when Fields’ natural arm talent started to captivate camp. He did that against the Dolphins, though it wasn’t always on time.

One came on Fields’ first possession after consecutive penalties put the rookie into a third-and-18 situation on the Bears’ 5.

“We had some vertical routes going and (running back) Damien (Williams) was the checkdown,” Nagy said. “He had him right away. I think he lost vision. I would have loved to see him get it to Damien right away and check it down. Instead, he pushed up and out and then threw sidearm to Damien and got the same result.”


Two days after Fields’ strong performance against Miami, Nagy said that the Bears’ plan for him remains in place. Andy Dalton is the starter; Fields is No. 2.

But Nagy did indicate that Fields’ work with receivers Allen Robinson and Marquise Goodwin and other offensive starters will increase. More snaps against the Bears’ No. 1 defense also are planned. Nagy described it as a part of the “evaluation process.”

“We want to see the strengths of these players when they’re playing, so yes, I’d say a little bit of that with his own players and then also who he’s playing against,” Nagy said.

How that plays out remains to be seen. Neither happened Monday at Halas Hall, but there are three practices remaining this week. Against the Dolphins, some of Fields’ early snaps came with the Bears’ first offensive line, albeit a makeshift version that included only two projected starters for the opener against the Rams in center Sam Mustipher and left guard Cody Whitehair.

At the same time, the Bears must make sure that Dalton is prepared to start. Nagy reiterated that Dalton and the first offense will play more against the Bills on Saturday.

The Chiefs’ developmental plan for quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2017 has been Nagy’s model. But the Chiefs also had one more preseason game at their disposal. Alex Smith also was entrenched as their starting quarterback for his fifth season. That’s not the case for Dalton.

Similar to Fields, Mahomes was the Chiefs’ No. 2 quarterback in 2017. During that preseason, he was on the field for 101 snaps. Smith got 62 snaps, which included eight in the first exhibition and none in the fourth. The Chiefs also had quarterbacks Tyler Bray and Joel Stave on the roster that preseason.

Over four preseason games, here’s how Mahomes played:

vs. 49ers
20
7
9
49
1
1
126.4
0
0
0
at Bengals
26
10
14
88
0
2
127.4
29
3
0
at Seahawks
28
8
15
70
1
0
66.0
2
2
0
vs. Titans
27
9
16
183
0
1
117.4
13
3
0

One fewer preseason game makes for a different plan for Fields and the Bears. But Nagy has made his goal very clear: “We still have to get Justin going with those reps.”


Nagy has a new message when it comes to Fields, Dalton and a potential decision at quarterback.

“Whatever is best for the Chicago Bears is in the end what we’re going to do,” he said.

He said that Monday after saying the same thing Saturday after the Bears’ 20-13 victory over the Dolphins. In the short term, everyone wants to see Fields more with the Bears’ starters. But the long term is still being considered every day at Halas Hall.

Nagy isn’t the only NFL coach managing the expectations of a rookie quarterback. As the slate of the first preseason games showed, developmental plans vary from team to team.

Here’s how the top five quarterbacks in terms of draft position fared in their preseason debuts:

Justin Fields
33
14
20
142
0
1
106.7
33
5
1
Trevor Lawrence
15
6
9
72
2
1
96.0
0
0
0
Zach Wilson
22
6
9
63
0
0
86.8
0
0
0
Trey Lance
29
5
14
128
4
1
93.8
0
0
0
Mac Jones
33
13
19
87
1
0
78.2
0
2
0

Of course, Fields’ success compared to other rookie QBs only increased the hype around him. But it doesn’t bother Nagy. He’d like to say that his plan actually accounted for it.

“And again, Justin understands all of this,” Nagy said. “That’s what I love about him. He understands the plan, understands the process. They all do. And we asked him to go out and play well on game day, live. And he did.”

(Photo of Justin Fields: Eileen T. Meslar / USA Today)

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Posted (edited)

Bears’ Justin Fields: 7 things we’ve learned about his development

Adam Hoge
Fri, August 20, 2021, 12:28 PM·10 min read

Hoge: What we’ve learned about Justin Fields’ development originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST – Justin Fields wasn’t happy with how practice went Thursday.

So he did it again.

“He had me take him out (to the field) and go through the whole practice script again,” Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo said. “Just little things like that, I don't want to say wow you, because I know the player, I've gotten to know him over time, and that doesn't shock me that he wants to do that, but at the same time, how great he wants to be -- it's really impressive.”

An interesting dynamic has developed at Halas Hall, where the Bears continue to stand by Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback, but continue to hype up Fields as a future star. No one – teammates, coaches or even Fields – seems worried about setting expectations too high. And perhaps that’s because Fields keeps blowing everyone away with what does on and off the practice field.

Just this week, safety Eddie Jackson said: “He brings a lot to the team already, probably doesn’t even know it. He fires guys up.”

After the first preseason game, wide receiver Rodney Adams said: “He’s a natural. He’s a leader. He commanded the huddle like he was supposed to.”

Many at Halas Hall have pointed out that Fields brings a different energy to the huddle that his teammates feed off of. And if that energy leads to more first downs and touchdowns, it’s only a matter of time before the rookie becomes the starter.

But before that happens, the coaching staff must be comfortable with Fields’ development, which is on-going. Thursday, both DeFilippo and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor went into detail about where Fields is at in his development and what still needs to be done.

Here are 7 things we learned:

Fields is truly obsessed

Some of the greatest quarterback busts of all time failed because they weren’t committed to the game. That won’t be an issue for Fields, who is proving to be as obsessed as anyone inside Halas Hall.

“I think it's a sign of a quarterback that has bought in and believes in not only the coaches, but the scheme and his teammates. There's a lot of positive signs there for sure for a young guy,” DeFilippo said. “It's really refreshing to see a young guy as willing as he is, that's had the amount of success he's had in his past. He wants to be great. He really does. He wants to be great.”

Lazor referenced the texts he gets from Fields at night, while also pointing out that they don’t come in too late – “he’s respectful.”

“I have evidence of how hard he’s working at night on his own preparing for the next day, whether it be a text message from him or knowing what he and Coach Flip are doing. And just the extra time he’s spending watching,” Lazor said.

Granted, these are things you expect from a franchise quarterback, but Fields’ drive to be great is still an important box that needs to be checked off and the coaching staff is thrilled with what they’ve seen.

Confident, but not cocky

When Fields was asked about the speed of the game after his preseason debut, he answered honestly.

“It was actually kind of slow to me to be honest. I think I was expecting it to be a little bit faster,” he said.

Out of context, that quote might have seemed arrogant. But in the room, you could tell that Fields was just answering the question with confidence, not cockiness. There’s a fine line between the two and sometimes that line is the difference between teammates gravitating towards a quarterback or being turned off.

“Justin is not a cocky guy at all. He's a very confident guy,” DeFilippo said. “I think he has had success and tasted success at every level he's been at, so I don't want to put words in his mouth, but from my observation, it didn't come as a shock to him that he had some successful plays (in his first NFL game). And that's a good thing. That's what you want. You want your quarterback internally confident, no matter what the situation is.”

Fields wants to be coached

Coachability is also an important trait in young players and Fields has yet to push back on anything the staff has attempted to teach him.

“From the beginning, he has wanted to be coached — from the beginning. I haven’t seen him in a position where that’s changed,” Lazor said. “Maybe it happens Saturday, maybe it’s the next week when he hits those rough spots. That’ll be part of, No. 1, the evaluation of him and, No. 2, his continued growth.”

There are bound to be struggles and how Fields responds will be telling. In fact, this week has been a minor speed bump, as the rookie has had two sub-par practices (and missed one) while dealing with groin soreness. It will be interesting to see how Fields performs Saturday against the Bills after a less-than-ideal week of practice.

Why a checkdown got the coaches excited

Earlier this week, Bears head coach Matt Nagy pointed out that a checkdown before halftime, with the clock running down, got DeFilippo especially excited. The QB coach explained why on Thursday:

“It was just really impressive for a young guy to really understand the situation. If the throw to be made wasn't down the field, we had to get out of bounds. To be able to reset your feet subtly, to set your target line so we could hit Khalil (Herbert) on the front pads so he could get out of bounds, I know it sounds small, but it's not.”

It was also a correction from a previous series, when Fields hit a checkdown late after needlessly scrambling.

But DeFilippo also understands that the scrambling is part of what makes Fields special and that’s why understanding situations is so important. There are times when taking a quick checkdown to get out of bounds is the best play. And then there are times when letting Fields use his raw ability is the best play.

“It's really exciting. I think when you watch a lot of tape, a lot of plays that are explosive pass gains, sometimes they are off-schedule plays, especially in the red zone. And very rarely can you get the play perfectly like it's drawn up in the book or how you envision it in your brain. Very rarely,” DeFilippo said. “So I think anytime you have a quarterback like Justin with his gifts that can play off-schedule like he can, it's a positive for our team.”

Fields is still adjusting to NFL nuances

While much has been made about Fields’ adjustment to huddling and taking snaps under center – both of which he didn’t have to do at Ohio State – there are some other game day nuances he’s getting used to at the NFL level.

“From what I know, unless someone was cheating, it was the first time on the sideline he got to look at the pictures the NFL gets on the sideline,” Lazor said. “It just sounds like a little thing, but that’s the first time in a live game where he’s got to come to the sideline and sit down with the quarterback coach and talk to the other players, the other quarterbacks, and go through: ‘Here’s what it looked like pre-snap, that’s when they rotated the safeties, you can tell.’ That’s a lot. It’s a big change.”

At the college level, quarterbacks typically come to the sideline and talk to their quarterbacks coach and get on the phone with the offensive coordinator upstairs, but they can’t look at the pictures. They also don’t have a headset in their helmet to hear the playcaller like they do in the NFL.

“We've been doing it in practice, but hearing the coach talk to him in the headset, right? Other than practice, that's the first time on a game field,” Lazor said. “I guess what I'm saying is don't underestimate all those things that may seem like little things. That's all part of a big, long process in what's going to be a long, fun journey.”

Complicated play calls have become ‘second nature’

The good news is that the long play calls that come in on the headset – usually from Lazor in practice and Nagy in the games – are being relayed flawlessly in the huddle.

“We have some difficult play calls, and when he walks in the huddle at 9 o’clock in the morning, I know how hard they are. Some of those are long calls. I know how hard he’s worked at it,” Lazor said. “When he walks in the huddle in front of his teammates, he can call that thing like it’s second nature to him. I just have evidence that he’s worked at it.”

That goes back to the work Fields is doing on his own at night before the early morning practices. When he shows up the next day, he’s ready to roll with the practice script. And when he struggles with it, evidently he takes DeFilippo back out to the field to do it again.

What’s next

In the short term, Fields has another game to play Saturday. The preseason games allow Fields to be tested with less scripted, and Lazor can’t wait to see how the rookie responds when something unpredictable happens.

“That’ll be fun to watch. How does he handle something that, I guess if I could have an example, I’d prep for it,” Lazor said.

But you can’t prep for everything and instincts must kick in. In scouting, instincts are often the toughest thing to evaluate. Everyone can see Fields’ natural playmaking ability, but how will the instincts translate to the NFL level? It was encouraging to hear Fields say the game seemed slow to him, but they’ll undoubtedly get faster as he faces tougher competition.

So in the long term – whether Fields is starting or not – DeFilippo has this advice for the rookie:

“Routine. Get in a routine. And then be ready to be uncomfortable on a Thursday night game. Be ready to make sure you don't overanalyze things on a Monday night game when you have extra time. Those are learning experiences. I can help a player so much, but he has to go through those things. (He) needs to learn, ‘Hey, I'm going to be confident on Thursday night when maybe I haven't had as much tape study as I'm used to on an opponent. I'm confident enough in myself and the plan and my teammates that I can go out and execute and I feel confident in executing.’ So those are the things that you just have to go through.”

Confidence seems to be the key word around Halas Hall. Fields has it, and apparently his coaches do too. If you thought Nagy and Co. were going to try to downplay expectations, you were wrong.

They’ve done the opposite. Because Fields can handle it.

Edited by soulman
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I cannot believe we are still talking about  Mitch as a potential starter in the league. He does not have the skill set whichever way you scheme him to be successful over the course of a full season. 

He can't throw it deep, and he can't read complex defenses. He will always limit the offense and against good defenses struggle. He is going to be a great backup player in the league and lit it up 1-3 games before falling back to regular Mitch.

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56 minutes ago, dll2000 said:

Good video:

 

 

Just watching Fields play gives me confidence he has it. The guy simply understands how to play the position from a mental perspective. This season will be a total waste but watching Fields develop will be great and 2022 there is a chance we can make some noise. 

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1 hour ago, dll2000 said:

Good video:

 

 

And all the more reason for setting up a preseason game so that Fields gets at least a full quarter with the starters.  If most other teams are playing their #2/#3/#4 QBs most if not all of the game why is Nagy determined to play our currently designated #1 guy with the 1st team while consigning Fields to play with a whole bunch of players who won't even make the final cut?

Never mind.  I realize I just questioned Nagy's thinking or lack thereof.  So I have my answer.

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43 minutes ago, Nads786 said:

Just watching Fields play gives me confidence he has it. The guy simply understands how to play the position from a mental perspective. This season will be a total waste but watching Fields develop will be great and 2022 there is a chance we can make some noise. 

One thing about that play was very obvious.  It was Fields knowing enough to just throw the ball away or at least high enough that only a 6'6" receiver would have any chance at all of getting to it.  Mitch would have forced a throw and gotten picked.

That's not a huge deal on a 2 point conversion but Mitch would have, and has done it while running a red zone drive and we came away with nothing.  Not even a FG.  Right there in that one play we can easily see the difference in thinking and football IQ between Fields and Trubisky.

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