Ranking Justin Fields vs. the current best QBs in the game

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Justin Fields’ four-game push seems to have marked the start of his rise.

That doesn’t necessarily mean his ability to become a dominant quarterback is inevitable and to ensure that, he will always need help.

Quarterbacks develop at different rates, but generally by his 19th start, Fields’ progress should have become apparent.

In fact, compared to the two quarterbacks on teams who are most often mentioned as Super Bowl favorites, Fields is right where he needs to be.

After 19 starts, Fields is very comparable to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Fields and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.

These two are mobile passers, so the similarities in style make for some good comparisons. Fields and Hurts had to go through two different coaching teams and offenses early in their careers.

After 19 starts, Hurts has the best overall stats of the three. Fields is just starting to make some progress and his touchdown pass total is starting to go up. In fact, Sunday’s three touchdowns lifted his touchdown passing total above his interceptions total for the first time.

QB stats after 19 starts

Strategist Att./Comp. yards TD/INT Evaluation YD/Att. Dash short TD

Justin Fields

269 ​​out of 457

3,192

17/16

78.0

7.0

163-1022

6

Josh Allen

315 out of 556

3,676

19/17

75.5

6.6

144-848

14

Jalen hurts

342 out of 580

4,205

13/22

84.7

7.3

202-1138

13

Mitchell Trubisky

351 out of 570

4,007

13/22

86.1

7.03

78-544

4

Hurts had an 84.7 passer rating after 19 starts, the best of three. He also had slightly more passing yards and 134 more rushing yards than Fields, but on 39 more carries. Fields’ 6.27 yards per carry is better than the other two.

The difference, of course, is that Fields’ team hasn’t been good. He arrived with a decaying team with few ideas on how to develop a quarterback. Both Hurts and Allen have benefited from strong all-around teams.

The Bears need to look at those numbers for Fields and the potential to bring in talent next year with so much cap space and with draft picks, and imagine Fields in a similar situation.

Either way, the numbers indicate that Fields is on the right path and only needs to develop further as a passer for his 20th start and beyond.

Start-up follow-up

Then again, there are plenty of cases of quarterbacks starting out strong and progressing, only to crash and burn out.

The Bears had one.

Mitchell Trubisky had a better career start from touchdown to interception than Fields at 22-13, about the same yards per attempt at 7.03 and more passing yards (4,007).

The 19th start saw Trubisky beat the Jets 24-10 just after racking up 48, 28 and 31 points in three games. That’s even better than the point production Fields has had in the past three games.

However, when Trubisky played better defenses, he always struggled. The Rams picked him three times in a Bears win, then the 2019 season started and the Bears offense leveled off, like Trubisky.

The determining factor in a quarterback board is genuine weakness seized by defenses.

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With Trubisky, it was the inability to get the ball across the field. When he hit 7.03 yards per attempt, that key stat began to decline because defenses realized how inefficient he was on down passes.

This was one area where the Bears didn’t have to worry about Fields, at least earlier in the year. He had a very solid 7.6 yards per pass attempt heading into Thursday night’s game against Washington.

It fell to 7.5 after that game, then to 7.2 after the New England game and to 7.15 after the Cowboys game.

Part of that is just getting more pass attempts. The offense extended beyond those early games as they threw 15 passes.

Nobody worries about his deep throw.

“I’ve always said it: his through passes have always been good,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “He always threw them very well.

“The intermediate pass is improving, his presence in the pocket is improving.”

If all of that is true, it shouldn’t drop Fields’ yards per attempt.

Fields needs even more receivers

The cause is the lack of open targets downstream and the inability to protect the fields. He has been sacked 33 times, just three less than all of last year. The lack of targets on the field was why they chased Chase Claypool and they went twice on Sunday, but both plays should have resulted in a pair of pass interference penalties – instead of just one.

Going forward, one could certainly expect Fields and Claypool to connect more on the pitch.

However, Claypool and Darnell Mooney are not receivers. You need more, and the third should be Velus Jones Jr. He didn’t become a rookie. In fact, their third-round rookie was inactive on Sunday and Eberflus on Monday couldn’t commit to getting him back in the game.

They have N’Keal Harry but in three games he had just five targets and four catches for 44 yards.

The only wild card is Byron Pringle, who could still come off injured reserve and make a statement about staying with the Bears in the future. However, only three targets on the year so far due to injuries are not helping his cause.

The Bears still need to find a real downside speed threat to complement Fields and his big arm and top two receivers.

It’s a place where Ryan Poles can look in the draft or what’s shaping up to be a limited free agency market for receivers.

Fields’ development isn’t exclusive of the talent around him. If they’re going to realize his full potential, he’ll need better pairings after his throws than they’ve shown so far.

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Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

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