Say this for Mike Florio. The longtime NFL insider knows how to stir up controversy. This past week, he was at his best on the Dan Bernstein Show for 670 The Score. He was asked if he believes the new Chicago Bears regime of GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus think Justin Fields is their guy. Florio exclaimed doubts regarding that, considering how underwhelming the team’s offseason has been to this point.
As of now, the Bears have only made two notable additions to their offense in the past month. First was new center Lucas Patrick and then wide receiver Byron Pringle. Not exactly household names. Florio thinks if Poles and Eberflus were genuinely committed to helping Fields excel, they’d be more aggressive. Instead, it’s almost like they’re taking an intentional step backward.
Not a great sign for Fields’ future in Chicago.
Does new #Bears regime believe in Justin Fields? @ProFootballTalk: “It feels like the Bears are deliberately taking a step back. And the problem is usually teams do that when they don’t have a QB they believe in.”
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) April 13, 2022
Needless to say, that take wasn’t received well by most Bears fans. Some believed it was Florio just trying to stir things up, something he’s had a reputation of doing in the past. Putting that aside, it does feel like he didn’t bother to assess the overall situation. Things like the Bears’ delicate salary cap situation and having too many roster spots to fill for them to afford any aggressive moves. There is also the philosophical angle. Poles outright said he intends to build through the draft. So spending in free agency goes against his principles.
This doesn’t even factor in people closer to the team saying that the new regime loves Fields as a leader and competitor. They think he can be a really good quarterback. Sure, having more talent around him will help. However, both Poles and Eberflus have said one of the biggest upgrades this offseason has been to the coaching staff. They believe offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and his assistants will craft a system tailored to Fields’ strengths from him. Something Matt Nagy never did enough last season.
Helping Justin Fields is important but not at the cost of the team.
That is the overarching thing here. Poles said it takes an entire football team to win a championship. Throwing what few resources he has on just one side of the ball won’t fix the issues plaguing the Bears. He has to build this team the right way. All three phases must get attention. Helping Fields is a priority, but not the only one. Wild overspending is how the organization got into its current mess in the first place.
Besides, it’s not like Justin Fields is utterly devoid of options. Darnell Mooney had over 1,000 yards last season. Cole Kmet became the first Bears tight end to top 600 yards receiving since Martellus Bennett in 2014. David Montgomery is a top 10 running back in the NFL. It might not be a star-studded cast, but it’s a decent one. With an improved offensive line and maybe one more solid wide receiver, this group should be able to score some points.
That is why Florio’s statement comes off as fear-mongering.
Sure, if Fields struggles again in 2022, the conversation will change. A quarterback should show progress going from his first year to his second. Having high expectations of him comes with the job. Poles and Eberflus are keeping open minds. They’ll do everything they can to help him, but he also has to help himself. If he plays well, don’t expect the young QB to go anywhere.
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