Justin Fields touts improvement with the Chicago Bears, but has he really improved?

The Chicago Bears are coming up to a crossroad regarding the quarterback position. Justin Fields says he has shown the team improvement, but is he right? Is it enough to keep Ryan Poles from drafting a quarterback in the first round?

Chicago Bears, Justin Fields
Chicago Bears, Justin Fields / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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Even with all of this improvement, he's also taken a dip in areas. For example, his rushing ability has dropped drastically this year. Defenses are scheming against his legs and his rushing yards per game have gone from 35 to 76.2 and back down to 48.8. He had two touchdowns in his rookie year, eight last season, and only two at this point this year. His longest run this year is 29 yards, yet his longest last season was 67.

He has also lost more fumbles this year. In his rookie year, Fields had 12 fumbles and lost five of them. Last season he had 16 fumbles, but only lost two. To date, Fields has nine fumbles this year and has lost four of them. I expect a dual-threat quarterback to have more fumbles than a traditional running back, and the total numbers people use when discussing his fumbles do not paint a complete picture. That said, he has to find a way to take better care of the football when on the move or attempting to extend the play within the pocket.

Chicago Bears, Myles Garrett, Justin Fields
Chicago Bears, Justin Fields / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Speaking of extending plays. Fields has struggled with holding onto the ball for too long. Whether this is a product of his struggling to read a play correctly, work through his progressions quickly enough, or play hero ball and try to do too much, Fields' inability to get rid of the football has led to a high sack rate each season. In his rookie year, Fields' sack rate was 10.6%. That ballooned up to 14.7% last year. He's brought it down to 11.8% currently.