Chicago Bears: Trubisky’s failure could dictate snaps of Justin Fields

Chicago Bears (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bears (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Chicago Bears will take on the Miami Dolphins in their first preseason game of the season on Saturday night, and one of the burning questions ahead of the game is how much will Justin Fields play?

Mitch Trubisky, do you remember him? He didn’t get a ton of reps back in 2018, and there is some sentiment of regret with the way things went down with the former Chicago Bears quarterback’s introduction to a new system. Will the same practice be repeated with Fields? Don’t count on it.

Why so much specificity on Justin Fields? It is due to his long-term importance to the team. No player on the roster drives as much attention or spotlight. He is the proverbial straw that stirs the drink at this point.

The Chicago Bears and Matt Nagy must give Justin Fields important reps

The other reason the focus is on Justin Fields and not just “the starters,” or “the reserves,” is according to Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy, the reps for the preseason opener won’t be solely based on starter or reserve groupings, but on individual players.

Nagy said he expects to see more of a play count rather than something series-based. The fourth-year head coach said “8-10 plays” is what he’s looking at for most guys–including Fields–though there could be some differences because of his importance.

Adam Hoge of NBC Chicago believes Nagy will take Trubisky’s failures into consideration as he carves out Fields’ reps. In tackling the topic of Fields’ preseason workload, Hoge wrote:

"So where does Fields fall on the rep scale? Well, you better believe that some of Nagy’s regret of the 2019 season came from the obvious observation that Mitchell Trubisky could have used those reps. Would they have changed the trajectory of his career in Chicago? Probably not, but they still would have helped him during that season, which was a step backward. That mistake won’t be replicated with Fields, especially in his rookie year."

Trubisky played a lot in the exhibition games ahead of his rookie season in 2017. However, when the Chicago Bears hired Nagy before the 2018 season, and he brought in his offense. After a 12-4 season, Trubisky didn’t play in the 2019 preseason at all.

Instead, Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray took all of the live reps. Nagy seemed to be in line with Hoge’s take, while obviously not making reference to Trubisky. Nagy said:

"The only way we can evaluate is by seeing him play. He’s gotta get valuable reps. As we go through these three games, being able to just see what he can do with different players and different teammates, it could be first, second or third team across the board."

You can see the video of Nagy’s meeting with the media below:

There is a multitude of things to consider, not least of which is the personnel available on the offensive line. As of now, rookie offensive tackle Teven Jenkins is still out and has yet to physically participate in training camp with a back injury. Another rookie on the offensive line, Larry Borom is in concussion protocol.

The unofficial depth chart for the Chicago Bears, which was released on Tuesday, has the Chicago Bears starting Lachavious Simmons and Elijah Wilkinson at tackle. That’s not an ideal pair to protect Fields in his first live action.

We’ll have to wait to see how it all shakes out, but best believe, Nagy and the Chicago Bears will be careful and calculated this time around.