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Justin Fields Showing 'More Progress' in Practice, Bears' Matt Eberflus Says

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 19, 2022

Justin Fields (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus is pleased with the progress second-year quarterback Justin Fields has made throughout training camp.

Fields was a limited participant in Thursday night's preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, completing five of his seven throws for 39 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

"I see more progress in practice," Eberflus told reporters after the Bears' 27-11 win. "His footwork's getting better, his delivery when he's feeling pressure, how he slides in the pocket and delivers the ball, that's getting a lot better too. He's improving every single day."

Fields endured an up-and-down rookie campaign after being selected with the No. 11 overall pick in last year's draft.

The Ohio State product completed 58.9 percent of his throws for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 12 games (10 starts). He added 420 rushing yards on 72 carries (5.8 YPC) with two scores on the ground.

Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who were both hired over the offseason, are building an offense that should take better advantage Fields' multifaceted playmaking ability.

"He does a really good job with the movement passes, the play-actions, in pocket, out of pocket, and to be able to deliver the ball," Eberflus said Thursday. "So we're excited about that."

The key question alongside the 23-year-old signal-caller's development is whether the Bears have put enough pass-catching talent around him.

Darnell Mooney is coming off a breakout year to the tune of 81 catches for 1,055 yards, but he must prove whether he's a true No. 1 wide receiver.

There are also a lot of question marks behind Mooney. Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown are former reserve wideouts in high-powered offenses (Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers, respectively) and Velus Jones Jr. is a rookie.

Add in tight end Cole Kmet and the Bears have the elements for the passing game to find success, but everyone in the group needs to take a step forward in coordination with Fields.

If everything comes together perfectly, Chicago has an opportunity to emerge as one of the NFL's breakout teams this season.

The Bears finish their exhibition slate next Saturday against the Cleveland Browns. They open the regular season Sept. 11 by hosting the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field.

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