Bears quarterback Justin Fields had a woeful 61.1 passer rating against the Buccaneers on Sunday.
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There is nothing good to say about the Bears at this point.
Even the orange jerseys, helmets and socks they wore against the Buccaneers on Sunday left one slightly nauseated. (Orange is best left to fruit and highway cones.)
What is working well for the Bears?
Uh . . .
There’s your answer.
The thing about the NFL is that every team gets the same advantages and TV deals and push-offs by receivers and holds by linemen and payouts from the league as everybody else.
Parity is the god of commerce for cartels.
The only thing that matters for dominance or failure — the reason a little place like Green Bay can compete with (and basically own) a giant place like New York — is that some teams do dumb things with their limited freedom and some do smart things with it.
Thus, the Bears.
Dumb. They own it.
Let’s look at quarterback Justin Fields, the eternal project, the Bears’ biggest hope.
His passer rating was up and down in the loss to the Bucs, then ended at a sad 61.1.
Passer rating is not the only stat for gauging a quarterback’s value, but it’s a pretty darn good one. That’s because quarterbacks — no matter how good they are as runners — must pass the ball upfield. And do it well.
Fields’ passer rating is consistently blah. It was 73.2 his rookie year, 85.2 his second year, 70.7 this season. Ninety or above is where very good starts. He has 26 career touchdown passes to go with 24 interceptions. He has presided over 22 losses and five wins in his 27 NFL starts.
Consider that in his one college year at Georgia and two at Ohio State, he won 20 games, lost two and threw 67 touchdown passes with only nine interceptions. If the guy hasn’t had whiplash from Bears reality, you wonder why.
One other thing to consider — there has never been a great NFL quarterback who came from Ohio State. There may be a reason, and not just because Michigan and Notre Dame hate Brutus Buckeye. It could be because Ohio State quarterbacks have more talent around them, comparatively, than they will have in the NFL and don’t know real adversity.
After all, in the 2020 and 2021 spring drafts, Fields had 20 of his teammates drafted, including four first-rounders, including himself.
You look at other NFL quarterbacks and try to gauge where a developing one should be at this point.
Peyton Manning’s passer rating after he had 32 starts was 90.7. After 22 starts, Jared Goff’s was 100.5. After three starts, Packers QB Jordan Love’s rating is 94.7.
Ol’ Aaron Rodgers had only nine ratings of 61 or lower in his 224 career starts. Fields already has had seven of those in those 27 starts.
And here’s a head-slapper: Failed Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s passer rating, after 26 games, was 95.4. He’s the guy the Bears picked in 2017 instead of Patrick Mahomes.
If there’s hope for Fields it might be in believing his growth has something in common with the slow development of Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, whose passer rating after 26 starts was a dismal 66.6. Aikman went on to win three Super Bowls.
Of course, a quarterback needs talent around him, and with the Cowboys, Aikman had Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Daryl ‘‘Moose’’ Johnston and even, for a while, Deion ‘‘Prime Time’’ Sanders.
Fields’ cupboard is bare. The Bears do not have a superstar wide receiver, though DJ Moore is pretty good and Chase Claypool was supposed to be good. They do not have a superstar running back or tight end or offensive lineman. They have no superstar pass rushers or linebackers.
Eddie Jackson, their best defensive back, is injured.
Thus, watching Fields play is like watching a once tricked-out rowboat slowly sink from unseen wormholes.
At times I’m reminded of another great athlete named Fields — no relation — who never developed and slowly sank away. His name is Ronnie Fields, and he played basketball at Farragut with Kevin Garnett in the mid-1990s. A three-time first-team Parade All-American, Fields was a 6-3 guard who could jump over the moon.
But his 50-inch vertical also kept him from developing the rest of his game, particularly his outside shot, and though he roamed around for years in the minor leagues, he never played a minute in the NBA.
If Justin Fields is the dud he appears to be, the Bears are a disaster.