The Chicago Bears are expected to begin the 2021 season with Andy Dalton under center, but many wonder if he will finish the season as the starter. The Bears traded up to the No. 11 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to select former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, and it’s worth pondering how quickly Matt Nagy and Co. could be on the trigger if Dalton struggles early on.
Fields’ new teammates are getting their first look at the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in OTAs, and his deep ball has impressed the wide receivers early on.
“It’s a beautiful ball, man,” Darnell Mooney said, via NBC Sports Chicago. “He knows where he wants to put it and it’s very accurate. Sometimes it can get there at the right ball, but he wants it out in front of you and he’ll get frustrated with his self if it’s not there. He’s very tough on his self. He’s a great player, great person as well, and he’s gonna have a good career.”
In fact, Mooney couldn’t help but smile when Fields threw that first bomb to him.
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“I’ve caught one or two deep balls from him,” Mooney said. “The very first one that he threw up to me I was smiling mid-route of just seeing the ball in the air and just where it was placed. He’s very accurate with his ball and he understands exactly where he wants the ball.”
It’s easy to make too much of things said by players in June, but Mooney’s quote about smiling mid-route after seeing a perfectly placed pass speaks volumes. That sounds like a wide receiver who has not seen an accurate deep ball thrown to him in quite some time.
Fields completed 70.2% of his passes for 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in last year’s COVID-shortened season. In 2019, he passed for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns and just three interceptions in his first season at Ohio State. Fields was a Heisman finalist in 2019, and then led Ohio State to the national championship this past season, where the Buckeyes fell to Alabama. He has the potential to be a franchise quarterback, and apparently already has the wide receivers smiling.