Justin Fields will get his first NFL start against the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday with the Bears’ veteran quarterback Andy Dalton seemingly sidelined for at least two weeks with a knee injury. Can the rookie quarterback and hope for the future of the franchise live up to the hype and high expectations to deliver a win?
Former Bears offensive lineman James “Big Cat” Williams give us his take on Fields as starter and his three keys to the game against the Browns.
1. Defensively, the Bears put an old fashion butt whoopin’ on the Bengals. They racked up six tackles for a loss, eight pass breakups, nine hits on the quarterback, four sacks, one fumble recovery and three interceptions — one for a touchdown by Roquan Smith. They seemed to have a good scheme in place and the players seemed to get some of their anger back. They will need to bring all of these things to the table against the Browns who are a team that wants to play smash mouth football and run play-action off those runs to take their shots down the field.
2. Offensively, Justin Fields will be the starting quarterback against the Browns. The offense must be more efficient this week. When the defense comes up with four turnovers against the Bengals and the offense only puts up 13 points that’s not the recipe for a playoff-bound team. They have to find a way to make plays down the field with Fields behind center. In a little over a half a regular season game we saw Fields throw 13 passes and not one of them was designed to get him on the move outside of the pocket. Is coach Nagy willing to check his ego at the door and put together a game plan that gets the most out of Fields’ special skills or do we watch as he tries to fit a square peg into a round hole?
3. With Fields starting the game it’s going to be even more important that they get in and out of the huddle, to give him time to look over the defense and communicate with center Sam Mustipher without having to rush. They also need to make sure that they clean up coming out of timeouts. Two weeks in a row we have seen the Bears offensively come out after timeouts and have miscues. This must be cleaned up. Whether it’s lack of understanding or miscommunication it must be fixed. They are not going to beat the good teams making those same mistakes.
Prediction: Bears 17, Browns 20