CHICAGO – It’s obvious the Bears expect -and need- Justin Fields to take a leap in Year 2.
Just how a big a leap he takes is the only question.
An improved Fields certainly helps the Bears’ chances when it comes to competing in 2022. But as it turns out, Fields will not only compete against opposing teams, he has a shot to compete against Bears’ history, as well.
The Bears franchise is a historic one, but let’s be real for a minute: they’ve never really been known for elite quarterback play. There have been notable names like Sid Luckman, George Blanda, Jim McMahon, Jay Cutler, and a couple others. But in regard to an overall body of work, there’s a lot left to be desired.
Fields can help change that in 2022. For starters, he has a shot to break the Bears’ record for the most passing touchdowns and passing yards over the first two years of a career. He also has the chance to become the first Bears quarterback to ever pass for 4,000 yards in a single season.
Fields only threw for seven touchdowns in 2021, but he’s already 13th in regard to the amount of passing touchdowns over the first two years of a Bears quarterback’s career. Mitch Trubisky holds the all-time record with 31. Meaning, Fields needs only 25 passing touchdowns to surpass Trubisky for No. 1.
Erik Kramer’s single-season mark of 3,838 passing yards in 1995 is the most a Bears QB has ever recorded.
In today’s NFL, 25 touchdowns and 4,000 passing yards isn’t a difficult mark to reach. For example, 10 quarterbacks threw for 4,000+ yards and 11 threw 25+ touchdowns in 2021.
Of the 11 QBs that played the entire 17-game slate in 2021, they averaged 29 passing touchdowns and 4,361 passing yards. Six of the 11 finished with 25+ passing TDs and six also finished with 4,000+ passing yards.
If Fields can play all 17 games, he has a good chance at breaking both records.
Even if this is attainable, it’s still a rather large jump for Fields to go from averaging less than one passing touchdown per game and 155.8 passing yards per game to 1.47 passing touchdowns per game and 235 passing yards per game. Especially when considering the questions surrounding the Bears offense.
However, there have been plenty of quarterbacks that made big jumps from Year 1 to Year 2. It’s even happened as recently as Lamar Jackson and Jared Goff. Jackson threw just six touchdowns in seven starts in 2018 before throwing 36 touchdowns and winning the NFL’s MVP award in 2019.
Goff, with a new coaching staff in 2017 (sound familiar?), went from throwing just five touchdowns in seven starts in 2016 to 28 in 2017.
There’s also both Manning Brothers, as well. And we all know how their careers turned out.
Fields obviously has a long way to go, but with the new coaching staff in place and how offense-driven the NFL is these days, he has a shot at etching his name in Bears history this year.
Featured image via Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports