GM Ryan Poles wasted no time overhauling the entire Chicago Bears offense the past few months. That is hardly a surprise after the unit again finished among the worst in the NFL. This means several roster slots include new faces on the offensive line, wide receiver, and tight end. For most, the first order of business is getting to know their quarterback, Justin Fields. First impressions have not disappointed them.
Most have already noticed his substantial physical abilities from the strong arm, accurate deep ball, and ridiculous speed. He is the total package as an athlete. Yet somehow, that isn’t what stands out the most about him. Teammates have gained a much greater appreciation for his relentless work ethic. The guy is a grinder, a true first-in-last-out personality. It turns out that mentality reflects in his leadership.
Tight end Ryan Griffin and others found that out the hard way.
“Just his demeanor. He is learning, but while he’s learning, he’s upset with mistakes. He’s not OK with guys in the wrong place. He’ll tell you that, and that’s what you need in the leader of this offense.
“So, an example would be some guy makes (a missed assignment). ‘It’s OK; we’ll move on.’ No, we get it corrected right there, and it starts with No. 1.”
That falls in line with everything heard or seen with Fields. He is a competitor. Nobody hates making mistakes more than him. As the leader of the Bears’ offense, it is his job to ensure everybody is on the same page. He can’t afford to let sloppiness slide. If he does that, it will bleed into games. Griffin has played with several quarterbacks, including Matt Schaub, Deshaun Watson, Sam Darnold, and Zach Wilson. Fields is a different animal.
“He is the most focused individual I’ve ever been around. Determined, hard-working. I don’t see him smiling ever, really, and it’s not because he’s not having fun out there, but this guy wants to win. It just oozes through every movement he makes out there.”
Fields is likely haunted by what happened last year during his rookie season. The offense was plagued by constant mistakes like ill-timed penalties, missed blocking assignments, and receivers running the wrong routes. Much of that led to him struggling as much as he did. The quarterback doesn’t want that to happen again. So he’s taking full command of everything to make sure it doesn’t.
Justin Fields knows he’s in control now.
That was one of his primary complaints about last season. He was never sure what his role was supposed to be under Matt Nagy. It wasn’t made clear who the leader of the offense was. Andy Dalton was the starter, but everybody knew Fields was the future. Nagy failed to clarify who the team should be following. That is one of many reasons the offense felt so disjointed throughout last season. Not anymore.
Justin Fields knows the offense is his now, and he’s not wasting time establishing complete control. He may not have mastery of the system yet, but he is making it clear everything will run through him. The other ten men on the field better know their assignments, or they could find themselves on the wrong end of one of his stony glares as they trot over to the sideline. Fields is all business, all the time.
This is a good thing for everybody.
It won’t always be enjoyable, but that doesn’t matter. Fields isn’t in the business of making guys feel comfortable. He’s in the business of winning. If he has to keep guys on edge to accomplish that goal, he will do it.
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