CHICAGO – Justin Fields didn’t have the best season as the Bears’ starting quarterback in 2021, but there were also a ton of contributing factors that propped up his struggles.

But, there were also plenty of flashes and great moments that showed why the Bears traded up to take Fields with the 11th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Two strengths of Fields’ game show up often on Sundays, regardless of the game-time context that surrounds him at the time: his deep ball and his mobility.

Unsurprisingly, those are the two traits that have jumped out to Matt Eberflus over the course of OTAs, so far.

And Eberflus plans on utilizing those traits as much as possible in 2022 and beyond.

“Man, he throws a good deep ball,” Eberflus told reporters Tuesday. “I’m excited about that and you can see it in the 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s. And we’re gonna take our shots down the field and man, he does a nice job of that. That’s what stands out to me.”

The numbers back up Fields’ deep ball effectiveness. Per Pro Football Focus, Fields finished 2021 with the fifth-highest big-time throw rate (34.8%) among quarterbacks with at least 22 passing attempts of 20+ air yards. He also tied for the 12th-best adjusted completion rate (44.2%), which was a better mark than quarterbacks such as Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson – to name a few. He was semi-protective of the ball, too, finishing close to mid-pack (14th of 32) in regard to turnover-worthy throws (8.7%).

Fields’ numbers aren’t based off a small sample size, either. Per PFF, he attempted passes of 20+ air yards at a 15.9% clip, which was the second-highest rate among qualifying quarterbacks.

A good chunk of Fields’ deep ball success comes from his ability to get outside of the pocket and find open receivers down field, which is a nice trait to have when playing behind the type of offensive line the Bears had this year.

But, there are plenty of other advantages that come with Fields’ mobility, especially in a wide zone scheme that the Bears plan to deploy under new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy.

“I think two-fold, the deep ball and the ability to run with the ball. I think those things stretch you,” said Eberflus. “So, when you get stretched horizontally and vertically like that, it always causes stress on the defense. It doesn’t matter what kind of style you are running.”

Per Sports Info Solutions, Fields finished with the fifth-most rushing yards (404) and rushing yards per game (33.7) and the sixth-highest yards per attempt (5.7) among quarterbacks with at least 28 rushing attempts in 2021. He was a tough guy to take down, too, evidenced by his mark of 1.9 yards after contact per attempt (1.9), which was eighth-best among all QBs.

Eberflus and Getsy have identified Fields’ strengths and they plan to build off those and incorporate them into the game plan on a regular basis, which has to be music to Bears fans’ ears, everywhere.

You can check out Eberflus’ entire press conference, below:

Featured image via Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports