Chicago Bears: Hot takes on Justin Fields, Ryan Pace, and more
By Evan Bruner
Hot take: Justin Fields is at as much fault as Matt Nagy for the Bears week 3 offensive struggles
Is Justin Fields at fault for Week 3?
It takes a lot more than just a bad coach to put an offensive performance as atrocious as the Bears did in week three. There have been plenty of horrific offenses and incompetent coaches in the NFL over the years, and there has only been a handful in the Super Bowl era that were statistically worse than the one we had to witness on Sunday.
Justin Fields needs to get rid of the ball quicker
When Justin Fields was named the starter last week, fans were hopeful his mobility would make up for some of the holes on the offensive line, but as we all saw, it had the opposite effect. Take an offensive line that was getting thoroughly dominated and pair that with a quarterback whose biggest weakness is holding on to the ball for too long, and it is a disaster. Fields shouldn’t be held liable for the line getting torched, but there are things he could do in the future to make it easier on the line.
Matt Nagy is still primarily at fault
Although there were some things Fields could do better, that’s to be expected from a rookie making his first career start. It’s ultimately the head coach’s responsibility to set up his young quarterback for success, and Nagy certainly didn’t do that. Once again, the Bears’ offense looked flat and unprepared, a theme that has become far too consistent in Nagy’s offense.
Matt Nagy was unable to make in-game adjustments
There are many bones to pick when it comes to Nagy’s shortcomings as a coach, but the one that stood out against Cleveland was his inability to adjust. The Bears’ offensive line was getting wrecked and wasn’t giving Fields enough time. There were two minor adjustments Nagy could’ve made to help. The first one would be to move the pocket. Having Fields roll out would allow him to make throws without being immediately swarmed by defenders and would give opportunities to use his running ability if the receivers weren’t open.
The second one would’ve been to run more quick pass plays. If the quarterback cannot get rid of the ball in time, then the offense can run shorter, developing plays that get the ball out of his hands quickly. As much garbage as I’ve given Nagy over the years for running screen passes on third and 12, this was a game where those types of play calls would’ve been acceptable.
Instead, Nagy continued to have Fields take the same five-step drops he was taking before and just hoping to get different results. I’m not sure if it’s ignorance, arrogance, or pure stupidity, but at this point, I don’t think it matters. We’ve seen Nagy’s offense fail under Mitchell Trubisky, Chase Daniel, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, and now Justin Fields. It’s impossible to ignore the common denominator.
Bottom line: There may have been things Fields could’ve done better, but most of the blame resides with Nagy. The fate of Nagy’s job lies in Justin Fields’ hands. It’s up to the coach to set up his players for success, and Nagy certainly didn’t do that.