After Justin Fields took an NFL-high 55 sacks in 2022, the Bears made it an offseason priority to put Fields in a better position to succeed. They brought in a new No. 1 wide receiver in DJ Moore. They spent their first-round pick on offensive tackle Darnell Wright. They said another year in the offense would get Fields more comfortable with reading the pass rush and getting rid of the ball quickly.
None of it has worked.
In fact, Fields is actually on pace to take more sacks this year than he took last year. Through two games Fields has been sacked 10 times, which would put him on pace to get sacked an NFL-record 85 times in a 17-game season. Not that the odds are great of Fields playing 17 games if he keeps taking sacks like this.
“I think we have a long way to go. I think we have a long way to go,” Fields said after the Bears fell to 0-2 with a loss to the Buccaneers. “But I just think if we keep working, we’ll get there and I think everybody has to keep that mindset. I think in this position, you can do one of two things, and that’s either lay down, just kind of throw in the towel and kind of say whatever, but I don’t think anybody on the team’s like that. But it’s my job, it’s the coaches job to keep everybody going, keep everybody’s moral up. Like you said, it is a long season, but I mean, we definitely have a lot to fix. Definitely have a lot to get better at, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
With the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the Bears decided to trade down and try to build a better team around Fields. If Fields doesn’t get things turned around, the Bears will be drafting high again in 2024, and they may not pass on a quarterback who can replace Fields.