Saturday, January 29, 2022

Bears place Justin Fields on reserve/COVID-19 list, likely ending QB’s rookie season

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It appears that Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields‘ season might be over. 

The Bears announced on Thursday that Fields has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. It was not immediately clear whether Fields was placed on the COVID list due to a positive test or as a close contact, but either way, he seems unlikely to suit up for the team’s Week 18 game against the division rival Minnesota Vikings.

The news comes after head coach Matt Nagy had previously announced that Fields would participate in practice this week and start against Minnesota on Sunday. Fields had missed the previous two games due to an ankle injury, but was declared ready to return to the field. 

Fields began the season as the backup to Andy Dalton, but eventually took over the starting role. In 12 games (10 starts), Fields completed 159 of 270 passes (58.9 percent) for 1,870 yards (6.9 per attempt), seven touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He added 420 yards and two more scores on his 72 rush attempts. 

It often seemed as though the Bears were running an offense that was not conducive to Fields’ skill set. The offensive line in front of him was poor, and his receiver corps was thin and injured throughout the year. Fields did contribute to his own inefficiency by holding onto the ball for too long and taking far too many sacks (11.8 percent of dropbacks), but he was not put in position to succeed by the coaching staff or the roster. 

The Bears traded their 2022 first-round pick to the New York Giants in the deal to move up and acquire Fields, but they desperately need to surround him with both more talent and a better staff that will design an offense around his talents. 

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