5 Candidates with potential to breakout for the Chicago Bears in 2022

Chicago Bears - Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Justin Fields
Chicago Bears – Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Bears Breakout Candidate: No. 1 Justin Fields

At the end of the day, the 2022 Bears will go as far as Justin Fields can take them. Unlike fellow 2021 classmates Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence, who have seen their surrounding pieces improve, the Bears didn’t do Fields many favors this offseason. Other than the addition of some depth wide receivers and linemen, the Chicago Bears stayed fairly quiet during free agency.

Where Justin Fields can improve 

Since the situation around Fields hasn’t gotten much better, the only way the Bears’ offense can take a big step in the right direction this season is if Fields does. He showed plenty of flashes as a rookie, but he struggled to put it together for weeks at a time. This is fairly normal for young quarterbacks. The next step would be to have those flashes persist for longer periods of time.

One area where Fields struggled early on in his rookie season was navigating the pocket. The Bears’ offensive line was a below-average unit, but there were times Fields added to that problem. One of Fields’ biggest college critiques was his tendency to hold on to the ball for too long, and that was on display in 2021.

The good thing is much of this can be improved with better play calling. Matt Nagy dialed up a lot of deep passes, which is part of the reason Fields had one of the highest average depths-of-target in football. These longer-developing routes forced Fields to hold on to the ball and gave the offensive line a long time to hold their blocks. This combination for a recipe for disaster and a leading factor in the team’s offensive woes.

To go along with this, we have seen videos of Fields reworking his throwing mechanics in an attempt to speed up his throwing motion. With less wasted movement in his throws and a more balanced scheme, Fields should take fewer sacks, even if the offensive line isn’t much better talent-wise.

The talent jumps off the screen. Justin Fields is simply capable of making plays and throws that his predecessors cannot. Last year’s situation was such a mess it’s hard to use against him. But if Fields doesn’t take a big step forward in 2022, we will be having a very different conversation next offseason