Chicago Bears: Setting realistic expectations for Justin Fields in year one

May 15, 2021; Lake Forest, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes the ball to running back Khalil Herbert (24) during rookie minicamp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations in the NFL are necessary, especially when a franchise drafts a rookie quarterback. The same is the case for the Chicago Bears, who drafted Justin Fields with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Throughout the offseason, Fields has continued to impress but Chicago’s coaching staff has yet to name Fields the starter.

The Bears know what they have in Fields. An immensely talented quarterback who’s been labeled a “generational talent” by Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. Fields has everything needed to win rookie of the year and with a 17 game season, there is certainly an opportunity to produce at a high level.

One rookie season Fields can replicate is that of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. The sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Herbert started 15 games as a rookie and passed for 31 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, completing 66.5 percent of his passes. Should veteran Andy Dalton struggle, the Bears will be forced to play Fields sooner rather than later, giving Fields an opportunity to break rookie quarterback records for the Bears.

“Great things don’t happen all at once. I’m just going to be patient,” Fields said during the offseason. “I’ve been in this situation before where I’ve had to learn behind a guy, so this is nothing new for me. I’m just going to take it day by day, get better each and everyday. I’m going to trust coach Nagy and the whole coaching staff here to develop me and make me the best quarterback I can be.”

Fields will play at some point in 2021 but for now, the major question about when he’ll be named starter will continue to loom over the Bears. Each passing day means one day closer to Fields officially being named the starter. It’s not a matter of if but when meaning expectations in 2021 are higher than ever.