Justin Fields was defended by head coach Matt Eberflus during offensive coordinator meetings, according to a recent report, but what does it mean?
According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported that Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus defended Justin Fields in interviews. Does this mean that the Chicago Bears are leaning towards retaining Justin Fields as their quarterback in 2024?
Here is what Eberflus said via Breer’s article:
I’d wondered whether it’d be tough for the Bears to find the right guy, given the perception that 2024 will be a make-or-break year for the football folks at Halas Hall. But because they moved fast, they were able to meet with a good range of people (they even traveled to California to sit down with Rams pass-game coordinator Zac Robinson and USC’s Kliff Kingsbury), and sell their job to a guy who had some options.
Of course, the chance, potentially, to coach USC’s Caleb Williams was something mentioned to me as a drawing card by candidates for the job (though Eberflus did defend Justin Fields in the interviews, as I understand it).
So what does this mean from Matt Eberflus?
There’s no exact way to predict the meaning behind defending Justin Fields, but if it’s a sign of anything it’s probably that the Chicago Bears will mess this up by retaining Justin Fields, because there’s always a find a way to do the wrong thing instead.
There’s zero context to the conversation Matt Eberflus had, but the assumption would be why go down the road of protecting Justin Fields play when he has so obviously been a horrible QB for the Chicago Bears. Fields was again within the bottom third of the league in QBR with a rating of 23rd best in the NFL. Career years from DJ Moore and Cole Kmet didn’t significantly boost Fields’ overall passing production.
So, what angle of defense could Matt Eberflus be taking in and outright defense of Justin Fields’ play? A coach isn’t going to downgrade Justin Fields’ trade value by telling the truth of what Justin Fields is. Justin Fields is a bust and everyone can see he’s a bust based on what he’s been on the field. The same offensive coordinators who would launch into criticism of Justin Fields know the exact same issues that every GM in the NFL that might want to trade for him already knows.
There’s a price people are willing to pay and a private criticism of Fields’ play shows at least that Matt Ebeflus should be moving in the direction of replacing Fields without considering him as the future. There’s no way to outright defend incompetence. You can sugar coat it, you can massage the conversation by admitting to other shortcomings that exist within the offense. But an outright defense of Fields makes it feel like the Chicago Bears are going to do what they always do and mess up the entire situation.
As we’ve seen from other teams the need to find an elite level QB is necessary to push your franchise deep into the playoffs. The only way to beat an elite QB is do it with another elite QB and the NFC currently doesn’t have one of the Top-5 QBs in the NFL.
As it stands right now Justin Fields is the fourth best QB in the NFC North. There’s no defending that. Matt Eberflus is not a competent head coach that should have been retained. Matt Eberflus is clearly not the guy to develop a QB so why was he retained to do so? Ryan Poles hasn’t entirely reshaped the roster to the point that the Chicago Bears can compete with Justin Fields returning at QB. The Chicago Bears messed up the stadium project by tying themselves into the Arlington Heights property without doing proper homework on what Cook County would assess them in property taxes leaving them virtually no way to get out of the property.
So why should fans of the Chicago Bears think that this organization is finally going to do the right thing and finally make an obvious step towards becoming one of the best teams in the NFL instead being the worst franchise in the NFL? Matt Eberflus’ actions leave more questions about competence than answers.
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