Bears' Justin Fields on Matt Eberflus: There are 'Positives' to Having a Defensive HC

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 31, 2022

Chicago Bears NFL football team quarterback Justin Fields listens to a question during a news conference at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

It likely came as a surprise to some when the Chicago Bears hired a head coach with a defensive background instead of an offensive one considering they made Justin Fields the franchise quarterback after selecting him with a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

The young signal-caller is looking at the silver lining of such a move, though, and shared his thoughts on Matt Eberflus with reporters on Monday.

I'm very excited. Having a defensive head coach, I feel like there are some positives to that. I feel like being on the offense, you kind of know what the defense is doing, but you don't know what they're fully doing. ... When you have a defensive head coach, he's able to explain to you what their jobs are, what their certain assignments are in a certain coverage, so I think that's one plus on having a defensive head coach.

Eberflus also spoke to reporters Monday and said the plan is to cater "the offense around him and his strengths" when talking about Fields.

Fields struggled to establish consistency during his rookie season, completing 58.9 percent of his passes for 1,870 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but he flashed some of the strengths and his overall potential that made him a coveted prospect coming out of Ohio State.

One of those strengths was throwing the ball deep:     

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

Justin Fields had most of his production when pushing the ball down the field, completing 9 of 16 passes traveling 10+ air yards for 225 yards and a TD (+9.6% CPOE).<br><br>Fields averaged 15.7 air yards/attempt, the 2nd-most by a QB in a game this season.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHIvsPIT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CHIvsPIT</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DaBears?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DaBears</a> <a href="https://t.co/L4agkzuWRY">pic.twitter.com/L4agkzuWRY</a>

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

Justin Fields was most effective passing downfield, completing 8 of 11 passes traveling 10+ air yards for 128 yards and a TD.<br><br>Fields completed +23.6% of his 10+ air yards passes over expected, a career-high.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MINvsCHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MINvsCHI</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DaBears?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DaBears</a> <a href="https://t.co/iw9FVFV3QL">pic.twitter.com/iw9FVFV3QL</a>

He also used his athleticism to account for 420 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, including a dazzling run against the San Francisco 49ers:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

JUSTIN FIELDS MIRACLE TD 🤯<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/i3cv3nWf94">pic.twitter.com/i3cv3nWf94</a>

Chicago needs to improve the team around him and could look to bolster the wide receiver group and offensive line this offseason. However, having a quarterback who can exploit defenses with his legs and connect on deep passes isn't a bad starting point for a coach looking to turn things around for his new team.

Fields also said he will be in communication with the coaching staff as he looks to turn glimpses of potential into consistent production and wins.

"It's important for coaches to run plays that their players are good at running," Fields said.

"They already have a base idea what my strengths are, but me being able to communicate with them and tell them what my strengths are, we can get on the same page. But there's going to be some new stuff that we didn't run last year that works and I've never run before. ... And by the time training camp comes around, I'll know it."

The Bears have been searching for a true franchise quarterback for years. How well Eberflus and Fields work together will determine whether he is the answer to that search.