Throughout the offseason, countless NFL analysts have debated how Bears quarterback Justin Fields will fare in his second pro season.
Fields is not interested in those unsolicited opinions, however, opting instead to focus on a much more relevant matter.
"That doesn't filter into me at all," Fields said Tuesday as the Bears kicked off training camp at Halas Hall. "And I'm not really worried about showing the league anything. I'm just worried about winning games. I'm not trying to prove myself to anybody. I'm not trying to do this and that, take opinions into account. My job is to win games and, of course, make the playoffs, so I'm not worried about anything."
Fields insists that he's motivated not by what others think he can or can't do, but by his love for a game he's played since he was a child.
"I just want to be great," Fields said. "This is my life. This is what I want to do for as long as I can. It's my job. It's my life. I don't know anything else. I've been doing this since I was, what, six years old. When you've been doing something so long, you start to love it more and more. I love everything that comes with it because I know at the end of the day that as long as I give my best, I know what I can do and I know that once we reach our full potential what we'll be able to do."
“I’m going to work until we get that Super Bowl trophy … I want to do everything I can to win that trophy and get that ring.” Bears QB Justin Fields
Fields dominated at the high school and college levels. He was named Mr. Georgia Football as a senior at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Ga., and later compiled a 20-2 record as a starter in two seasons at Ohio State. But Fields didn't have the same success during an up-and-down rookie season with the Bears last year, throwing for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 73.2 passer rating.
"I'm a big believer in everything happens for a reason," Fields said. "Who knows how I would have taken it if I had a great game every game? Maybe I wouldn't have that hunger still."
As he prepares for his second NFL season, that hunger is palpable on the practice field, in the weight room and in the classroom.
"I'm going to work until we get that Super Bowl trophy," Fields said. "I think everybody in this building knows that I'm going to work. I'm going to do whatever I can to help us win games and to help us get better each and every day. Failure pushes me to go even harder. I want to do everything I can to win that trophy and get that ring."
Take a look each player on the Bears roster as Enjoy Illinois Training Camp gets underway at Halas Hall in preparation for the 2022 season. (Players listed numerically)
During training camp, the Bears hope that Fields will continue to improve and develop as he gains a firmer grasp of the new system.
"We're going to continue to add things to the offense and he's going to have to continue to grow based on what he sees and the defense throws at him, continue to make plays," said general manager Ryan Poles.
"He's doing everything he's supposed to. We're excited in that direction. And I think one of the most important pieces is that command. Continue to bring that command and that leadership, and I thought you saw that as we were finishing up the offseason as well. Just continue on the path that he's on."
Fields' main objective throughout camp will be to get better and learn something new on a daily basis. Asked what specific areas he wants to improve, he said: "Just being calm in the game, just being on time with the routes, the concepts that we have in the offense and just playing on top of my feet."
"I think as long as I do that, we're going to have a good amount of success," Fields said.
When Matt Eberflus was asked Tuesday what he had learned about Fields during the offseason, the Bears coach joked that he discovered the quarterback is a really good ping-pong player.
Fields clearly also impressed Eberflus on the football field.
"I would say that his leadership and his grasp of the offense was outstanding, the way he learned and the way he grew that way," Eberflus said. "We talked about his footwork and his fundamentals; that's through the roof going in a positive way too. So he's doing a great job right now.
"We're excited about having him grow every single day and he is, too, and just getting better and better. He's not where he needs to be, but this is why we have training camp. He's just going to keep getting better and better and better all the way to the first game. We're excited about his development."