The Chicago Bears have found their franchise quarterback in Justin Fields, yet his rookie season ended up being a disaster. That wasn't entirely the fault of Fields, as Matt Nagy had his quarterback in-and-out of the lineup because the Bears were committed to Andy Dalton as QB1. Nagy refused to build a game plan around his rookie quarterback, which set Fields up for disaster from the start.
Fields completed 58.9% of his passes for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns to 10 interceptions and a 73.2 passer rating -- numbers no team wants to see from a first-round pick it traded up for. The manner in which Nagy handled Fields led to Nagy's dismissal, which means the Bears must start from square one with their young quarterback.
Chicago also fired general manager Ryan Pace, as it is tearing down the foundation in the front office and coaching staff in the hopes of getting the most out of a roster filled with young talent and a defense that finished in the top 10 in yards allowed in 2021. In a weak NFC North, the Bears aren't that far off from contending.
The Bears have to get the most out of Fields if they want to win a playoff game for the first time since the 2010 season. They invested in the young quarterback, the key toward immediate success with the franchise.
Hire a coach who works well with young quarterbacks
This is where the Bears can't shy away from the Andy Reid coaching tree just because Nagy turned out to be a disaster. There are plenty of coaches from the Reid pipeline who would be perfect teachers for Fields, coaches who will actually use Fields' running ability to his strength and develop him as a passer outside the pocket.
Doug Pederson worked well with a young quarterback in Carson Wentz, getting him to become an MVP frontrunner in his second season with him. Eric Bieniemy has been part of the braintrust behind Patrick Mahomes getting off to the greatest start for a quarterback in NFL history. Both those coaches would be excellent mentors for Fields, installing new offenses and creative schemes that can get Fields toward playing at a Pro Bowl level.
If the Bears want to move outside the Reid pipeline, Brian Daboll would be an excellent hire based on his work with Josh Allen over the last several seasons. The Bears have to find a coach who will work with Fields and tailor an offense toward his strengths as a passer and runner, which Nagy failed to do.
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Fix the offensive line
The Bears offensive line didn't give Fields an opportunity to succeed in his rookie season. Chicago allowed the most sacks in the NFL with 58, responsible for their quarterbacks having the fourth-worst passer rating in the NFL (75.5). The constant pressure on Fields led to the young quarterback needing to get the ball out quick, not going through his progressions, and erratic decisions as a result.
Jason Peters actually gave the Bears meaningful snaps at the age of 39, but would Chicago actually bring Peters back for his age-40 season? James Daniels allowed 39 pressures at guard, amongst the top 10 in most pressures allowed at his position. Second-round pick Teven Jenkins struggled in his debut, but allowed just four pressures in his final four games.
Juan Castillo is a good offensive line coach and has been for two decades, so it would be wise for the next head coach to retain him. The Bears need to add more offensive line talent on Day 2 of the draft, specifically on the interior of the line. They also have $40 million in available salary cap space to work with, some needs to be used on a good veteran to help Jenkins and his development.
Add another pass catcher for Fields
Darnell Mooney is on the verge of stardom in this league, having his first 1,000-yard season (second year in the league) and emerging as a deep-ball target for Fields in the years to come. Outside of Mooney, the Bears need significant help at pass catcher. The Bears franchise tagged Allen Robinson, who had a disastrous season after consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns. Robinson didn't have 70 yards in any game this season, finishing with just one touchdown.
While Robinson is likely on his way out, who catches passes for Fields outside of Mooney? The Bears don't have a first-round pick to add an instant contributor, so the free agency route may be their best bet. There's going to be options available for an upgrade.
The Bears have an emerging tight end in Cole Kmet to pair with Mooney, but just need to find another pass catcher on the outside to help develop Fields. Damiere Byrd and Marquise Goodwin as the No. 2 wideouts just aren't going to get it done.