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Ex-Bears Exec Explains Key Problem in Justin Fields’ Game

Former Chicago Bears director of player personnel Josh Lucas details the key problem with Justin Fields’ game at this point in his career.



Pittsburgh Steelers Chicago Bears Justin Fields
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes during an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

The Pittsburgh Steelers will look to help rehabilitate Justin Fields and turn him into the future answer at quarterback after a tough stint with the Chicago Bears. But what is the biggest thing that the team will have to overcome if Fields is going to reach that potential?

Former Bears director of player personnel Josh Lucas, who was on the staff that drafted Fields, joined Pro Football Focus to discuss what Fields needs to do better and how he must improve in order to take that nest.

“Our main concern was: ‘Is this just a two-year starting quarterback in college that needs more time? He’s playing around phenomenal talent, offensive line and perimeter skill. He’s got more time to operate. Or is this like a lack of instinct?’ That was our big question, and after three years, I would say there’s a little bit of an instinct issue there,” Lucas said. “It’s why I think the league just told you he’s viewed as a backup quarterback right now more than a starting quarterback.”

Fields took a small step forward in 2023, his third year as Chicago’s starting quarterback. The Ohio State alum threw 370 times, completing 227 for 2,562 yards and 16 touchdowns. He threw nine interceptions and maintained an 86.3 passer rating and a 5.29 adjusted net yards per attempt.

In 2022, he was 192 of 318 for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, an 85.2 quarterback rating and 4.63 adjusted net yards per attempt.

Since 2022, Fields has the most rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,800 yards and 6.3 yards per carry. Both figures are higher than Lamar Jackson’s.

As for now, Justin Fields still trails Russell Wilson in the quarterback competition.

Wilson is in the pole position. If you’re a fan of NASCAR, you know that means Wilson is in the most advantageous position in the quarterback competition. But Justin Fields will not go away that easily in the competition. Mike Tomlin and the Steelers realize their potential in Fields.

“Oh my god, man, he oozes talent and potential. He’s worn the responsibility of being the franchise quarterback, but still gets to come into a community situation to learn from a guy that’s been doing it for over a decade. There’s a lot of meat left on that bone and I’m excited about working on extracting it,” Mike Tomlin said.

Fields is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and the Steelers must decide this offseason if they want to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract. That would be a guaranteed $25 million contract for 2025. The Steelers could negotiate a traditional contract extension.