In a performance fit for the Halloween season, the Bears’ play-calling and offensive line play turned the debut of rookie Justin Fields into a horror show.
More sacks (9) than completions (6). 47 total yards. 6 total first downs.
Browns 26, Bears 6.
Who needs slasher movies when you can watch the Bears on Sunday afternoons in the fall?
As much as one would like to place the blame on the vaunted rookie QB, we cannot do so. Did he hold on to the ball in the pocket a bit too long? Sure. Did he stare down his receivers a bit too much? Absolutely. These are things one anticipates from a rookie QB in his first NFL start.
But that’s the point. Why wasn’t it anticipated and addressed by the wizened heads of the Bears coaching staff as part of the game plan? Why did it appear that Matt Nagy simply changed the name on the playbook prior to the game from (injured starter) K. Dalton to J. Fields, using the same scheme for the inexperienced but breathtakingly athletic Fields that he would have for the ancient, immobile but experienced Dalton?
Is Nagy even aware of this new-fangled concept call the RPO (run/pass option)? It’s all the rage for the new type of quarterback that has great wheels and a great arm. Does he even know what the letters stand for?
Apparently not, and apparently it’s not something Nagy is interested in learning about. Just like he did with Mitch Trubisky, another young quarterback whose athleticism was a major part of his value, Nagy appears determined to view Fields as merely a pocket passer, destined to stand like a statue while his pitiful offensive line ushers in the opposing defensive line with almost gentlemanly manners. Hell, we’d settle for a few simple roll-outs. But again, that seems to be too much for Nagy.
We still expect Fields to be great. The breadth of his skill set and his native competitiveness won’t be suppressed, even by a blockhead like Nagy. But until the latter gets his head out of his proverbial keister, it’s going to be a long slog.
On the bright side, the Bears’ defense seems to be regaining its form, which is a joy to behold. It would be nice, if uncharacteristic, for Nagy to recognize that HE is the problem with this team and act accordingly by relinquishing play-calling responsibilities to his offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor, like he did for a portion of last season.
We aren’t holding out breath.