Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is embarking on his first NFL season as an unquestioned starter. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t questions about his game that require answers.
Fields’ mechanics have been the target of criticism this offseason. The focus has been on his elongated release, and it’s something the Bears are working on in advance of the 2022 season.
“We’re always just trying to be efficient and compact,” quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko said. “Everything starts with our feet and building it from the ground up. And then from there just being compact and allowing him to have the best release possible from the ground up, from the waist up, with his base and all that.”
A lot is riding on Fields in 2022 and beyond. That’s stating the obvious, right? As a result, making sure his mechanics are sound is a priority. Sometimes, though, too much can be made of a quarterback’s throwing motion. I know that’s blasphemous for scouts who nitpick over every aspect of a player’s traits, but the list of successful quarterbacks with less-than-perfect mechanics is noteworthy.
Dan Marino? Philip Rivers? Even Bernie Kosar enjoyed a lot of success in the NFL with releases that would make Draft Twitter cringe.
Former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had an elongated release, too, but it didn’t hinder his career all that much. He ended his tenure in Chicago as the team’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.
Whatever the Bears can do to enhance Justin Fields’ game is a worthy undertaking. But Fields made it this far throwing the ball his way. And whether Janocko can speed up his release or it’s more of the same for Fields in 2022, not much should change regarding his projection moving forward. Fields was a blue-chip prospect before the tune-up on his throwing motion, and his outlook as a franchise quarterback will remain if nothing changes.
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today. His NFL Draft and Bears coverage has also been featured on The Draft Network.