Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields lost twice as many games in his 2-8 rookie NFL season than he did during his entire 30-4 collegiate career. It was a difficult campaign for the talented ex-Ohio State star, who was thrown into the fire for a struggling team that ended up finishing 6-11.
Fields is determined to learn from the past, though, as he moves forward under a new Bears regime led by general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus with eyes toward the ultimate Lombardi Trophy goal.
"Failure pushes me to go even harder," Fields told reporters at Bears training camp (h/t Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun Times).
"So, you know, that’s really all I’ve got to say. I want to do everything I can to win that trophy and get that ring."
Fields completed 58.9 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns (10 interceptions) and 1,870 yards and ended up finishing 30th in quarterback rating out of 33 qualifiers. He also rushed for 420 yards and two scores.
Fields certainly showed sparks of the talent that led Chicago to trade up from No. 20 to No. 11 to get him, including a 103-yard rushing day against the San Francisco 49ers and an impressive final outing versus the Minnesota Vikings (26-of-39, 285 yards, one touchdown).
Still, there's a lot to improve upon for both him and the team as they look to move forward. Fields is embracing it all, though, including the failures.
"You’re not going to always win every game," he said. "And if you’re going to love the game, you have to love everything that comes with it. You can’t just love one part of it. You’re going to have to embrace the failures."
Fields will have a full training camp and offseason as the Bears' unquestioned QB1 after Chicago rolled with veteran Andy Dalton to start last year. That can only help Fields as he establishes himself as the face of the franchise moving forward.
He'll take the field as the starter in Week 1 against the 49ers.