Justin Fields got dealt a tough hand when he arrived in 2021. The Chicago Bears offense was in disarray thanks to bad coaching and injuries. Now, a new regime has overhauled much of the roster. Allen Robinson is gone. Three starters from the offensive line are gone. Experts find it difficult to believe the quarterback’s coming season will be a disaster. It’s not like others have experienced a situation similar to this.
Well, Donovan McNabb did. If people went back and looked into his second year with the Philadelphia Eagles, they wouldn’t exactly see a stacked lineup. His three primary receivers were Charles Johnson, Torrance Smith, and Todd Pinkston. The three of them combined for a single 1,000-yard season in their careers. Running back Duce Staley was lost after five games to injury. The only key difference is McNabb’s offensive line was more stable, headlined by solid tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan.
Things didn’t start well for McNabb. He threw just 12 touchdowns with ten interceptions over his first ten games. It didn’t discourage him, though. Despite the difficulty, he battled through and finished strong with 1,394 yards, nine touchdowns, and three interceptions over the remaining six games. He improved regardless of the circumstances.
Justin Fields can do the same.
Nothing will be easy for him this season. It is a new offense with a roster that hasn’t played together before. Still, he is not without help. Darnell Mooney is better than anybody McNabb had 22 years ago. Cole Kmet can be a solid tight end. David Montgomery is as good as Staley was back in those days. The key is the offensive line. Can the Bears at least get it to play average football? Fields is talented enough to make it work it work if they can. He has the mobility to cover up the rest.
It isn’t about playing like a superstar. Those expectations for Justin Fields were never realistic. It has to be about improvement. Even modestly. More touchdowns. Fewer interceptions. A better completion percentage. Look like a professional quarterback should. If Fields can do that, the team will know they have somebody worth building around. Same as McNabb all those years ago.