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The Chicago Bears take a 2-1 record, a suddenly dominant running game and a still-struggling passing game into East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday to face the New York Giants.

The Tribune’s Brad Biggs opens his weekly Bears mailbag to address whether quarterback Justin Fields can rebound from a rough start to his career.

Like their failed predecessors, Justin Fields and the Bears coaching staff say all the right things, such as “we have to get better.” Unfortunately, actions speak louder than words. We now have a growing sample size (13 games) that consistently reveals Fields holds the ball too long and fails to see the entire field. There is little evidence he will get better. I sincerely believe the Bears will be looking for another QB next season via draft, trade or free agency — an all-too-familiar scenario for Bears fans. I am at a loss to identify a single QB who had such a poor career start and then became a difference maker. Thoughts? — Jim A., Plymouth, Minn.

The Bears are in an uncomfortable position when it comes to their passing game. They have been dominant running the football, helped by Fields’ ability, but haven’t parlayed any of the success on the ground into profits in the passing game. A lot of folks are talking about how successful running should create play-action passing opportunities. More importantly in my opinion, when opponents fill the box with eight defenders, it should create advantageous single-coverage situations on the outside that Fields should be able to win against. It hasn’t happened.

The sample size remains small, but the Bears have some jarring statistics. They are averaging 78.3 net passing yards, last in the NFL. The 31st-ranked Carolina Panthers average 161.3. The Bears’ 8.9% interception rate is more than double that of 29 teams. The only others are the New England Patriots (5.2%) and Los Angeles Rams (4.9%). The Bears’ 22.8% sack rate per pass attempt is more than double that of 28 teams. Next on the list are the New York Giants (14.1%), Cincinnati Bengals (12%) and Washington Commanders (11.5%).

That is on Fields, the offensive line and the skill-position targets, but it would be a mistake to blame protection for all 10 sacks. In fact, Fields is responsible for close to half of those, and there are plays in which the protection breaks down after he had the opportunity to target open receivers.

There’s no reason for the Bears to change course at this point. The organization — though not the new regime — has a ton invested in Fields, and if he does pan out, it would speed up the timetable for a rebuild. If the Bears can continue to generate takeaways, play better run defense and keep running the football well while playing solid special teams, they can win their share of games if the quarterback doesn’t lose games. That’s how a lot of the Lovie Smith era went, right?

Josh Allen had a rocky start to his career with the Buffalo Bills. I don’t know

Source:: The Denver Post


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Chicago Bears Q&A: Is there any precedent for Justin Fields becoming a difference maker? Can Velus Jones be the passing game’s ‘missing component’? | Usa new news

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