Criticism of Ryan Poles’ first year is arguably warranted. Not only did he construct the worst team in the league, but the Bears didn’t come away with a clear answer on if Justin Fields is the franchise quarterback. This offseason, however, should remedy both issues. The key will be two Poles evaluations: Fields and head Matt Eberflus. The good news is there’s reason for optimism in both cases.
From Weeks 4 to 16, Fields was 10th amongst quarterbacks in EPA per play. While that takes into account his rushing totals, why wouldn’t one take that into account? In that time span, Fields had a passer rating of 95, while putting up per game averages that would equate to more than 4,300 total yards and 33 touchdowns. It doesn’t really matter how he got the yards and touchdowns; it all counts the same.
25 was an all pro return man. Fields broke his ankles before blowing past the rest of the defense for a long TD run.
I know discounting this and looking solely at passing volume numbers is the current trend, but…man… pic.twitter.com/0yi2N7c3WG
— Andrew Dannehy (@ADannehy) May 16, 2023
Protection improvements, as well as the addition of DJ Moore, should help Fields as a passer. And while fans may have to accept that Fields is unlikely to ever become Patrick Mahomes from the pocket, he has shown enough to think he can be along the lines of Jalen Hurts.