No. 1: Quick Game Accuracy
One of the biggest misconceptions about NFL quarterbacks is what truly constitutes an NFL throw. Many overemphasize the importance of deep shots and bucket throws. Although these throws are valuable, they make up a relatively small portion of a quarterback’s responsibilities.
Even the most explosive passing attacks in the league can only take the top off the defense a few times a game. This means to sustain scoring drives for an entire 60-minute game, teams will have to look beyond hunting the big play.
The quick game is the meat and potatoes of the modern NFL offense. Completing quick passes eases the pressure on the offensive line, and the emergence of RPOs gives quarterbacks greater autonomy.
The Bears' quick game offense was the worst in all of football last year, and the majority of the blame resides with Fields. He often misfired on slant and screen passes, resulting in many incompletions and missed yards after catch opportunities. Short passes predicate on timing and rhythm, and an inaccurate pass, even if corralled by the receiver, throws off the entire rhythm of the play.
Completing passes underneath will also make it easier for the offense to attack vertically. Incompletions on routine passes last season frequently put the Bears behind the sticks and made their passing attack one-dimensional. Defenses knew they were looking for the explosive play because that was about all the down and distance would allow them to do.
Many optimistic fans have pointed to Jalen Hurts’ third-year breakthrough a year ago as support for their thesis on Fields’ potential. However, it’s important to note that the Eagles were one of the best RPO teams in all of football in 2022, and the quick game was the foundation of their high-powered offense.
Even with a respectable deep ball a year ago, Fields’ passing numbers were simply atrocious. Even the most physically gifted quarterbacks need to dink and dunk from time to time. Fields doesn’t have to be vintage Tom Brady, but he needs to be better than he was a year ago.