If anyone were to point to where Matt Nagy was ultimately fired last season, most would say it was his handling of the Justin Fields situation. Everything about it, from start to finish, reeks of someone who claims he has a plan but doesn’t.former chicago bears The head coach has insisted from the start that he intends to have Fields for the 2021 season, as the Kansas City Chiefs did with Patrick Mahomes.
This sounds good on paper. The only problem is that Najib never had a plan B for himself. Everything is set in stone. Andy Dalton was the starter. Fields are backups. He was so obsessed with it that he didn’t even give a rookie a first-team offense in training camp. However, despite this stance, he never made it clear who the captain should be. Things got worse when Dalton suffered a knee injury in Week 2, forcing Fields into the lineup.
What followed was another chaotic, miserable season in the Bears’ passing game.
One would think Fields had come out of that experience, but even now there are signs that Najib’s handling of him remains resonate negative. In an interview with Bleacher Report, he talked about how different it feels going into season two. He couldn’t help but admit that it was nice to have more clarity this time around. He lamented that Najib never made it clear what his role should be in 2021.
“I feel more comfortable this year,” he said. “I kind of know what to expect and what to expect. … I don’t know if I’ll be the leader of the team Last year compared to this year means a completely different mindset. Just being comfortable knowing that I’m going to be that person, this is my team, and it’s definitely a different mindset because I’m trying to be the leader of everyone on the team. “
It doesn’t end there. Fields also hinted at his apparent lack of freedom in last year’s offense. Najib was notorious for a rigid system during his tenure, wanting things to work a certain way, and was not always willing to give up control. That’s why Fields is often stuck trying to execute offense against Dalton instead of him. This year, he plans to exercise more control over things on the court.
“Being a coach on the court,” he said when asked about his biggest personal goal of the offseason. “Of course we have a new offense this year and the only person who really understands the whole offense is the offense coordinator. Even the coaches are learning the offense. Just being a coach on the field able to control everything and let everything run smoothly. “
Justin Fields appears to have learned some harsh lessons.
Ben Roethlisberger told Mitch Trubisky before joining the Bears that he should take control of his career. This is good advice, and it means the young QB has to do what he thinks is right when the situation allows. Trubisky never seemed to listen to the advice until it was too late. He is a good soldier and tries to do what Najib wants to do. By the time he finally realized it wasn’t working, their relationship had already started to break down.
Judging by the way Justin Fields speaks, he is learning the same thing that Roethlisberger did. Playing on offense is important, but he also has to make it his own. The best quarterbacks in the NFL are in control of the offense. Everything goes through them. The coach may call, but the quarterback will read and check at the free throw line to make it work. That’s what Fields is trying to achieve, and he’s been studying like crazy to get there.
Everyone has been impressed with his progress so far.
People talk about Matt Eberflus and his staff having to repair the damage done by Nagy last year. While this is true, Fields intends never to put himself in that position again. He’s taking over the locker room as a leader, and his goal is to master new offenses before anyone else. Get in his way if you dare.
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