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Chalk Talk

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Chalk Talk: Was Fields' TD pass an elite throw?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

I was listening to the "Waddle and Silvy" radio show earlier this week and they were debating whether Justin Fields' touchdown pass to Jesse James last Sunday against the 49ers was an elite throw. I certainly thought it was, but former Bears receiver Tom Waddle did not agree, arguing that it was a throw that every NFL quarterback should be able to make. Do you think it was an elite throw?
Phil K.
Kankakee, Illinois

I absolutely think that Justin Fields' 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jesse James in the left corner of the end zone was an elite throw. Not only did Fields sprint to his left and square his body to the line of scrimmage, but he rifled a frozen rope into a very small window—inches out of cornerback Josh Norman's reach where only a diving James could catch it. Watch when the NFL RedZone channel shows all of the day's touchdowns at the conclusion of their coverage every Sunday and tell me how many throws you see like that one. Not very many. Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo described it as "a mailbox throw" and added that the Bears have been working with Fields on rolling to his left and throwing, saying: "He's bought in and gotten better, and whenever you can roll out both ways, it's an added strength of our offense for sure." Interestingly, former Bears tight end Greg Olsen worked the game as a color analyst for Fox and said that the throw reminded him of a shortstop turning a double play. On Thursday, Fields said he thought that playing baseball "kind of helped me" with throwing to the left across his body. I asked him what position he played in baseball and he said he was always a shortstop. So that was a pretty astute observation by Olsen.

When talking about Bears linebacking greats, why is Bill George never mentioned? As an old-timer, and talking to some 1963 Bears, I know it's a sore spot when he's left out of the conversation as an all-time great.
Patrick B.
Sturgis, Kentucky

I assume it's because most Bears fans never saw Bill George play. But I completely agree with you that he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the fellow Hall of Fame middle linebackers who followed him: Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher. George invented the position when he dropped off the line of scrimmage in 1954. He was an eight-time first-team All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler during 13 seasons with the Bears from 1952-65. I know George received the recognition he deserved when esteemed football writers Don Pierson and Dan Pompei ranked him as the seventh best player in Bears history in the team's Centennial Scrapbook that was published in 2019. They ranked George behind only Walter Payton, Butkus, Bronko Nagurski, Sid Luckman, Gale Sayers and Mike Ditka.

With Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers having to sit out at least 10 days because he caught COVID-19 and is not vaccinated, I was wondering if Bears quarterback Justin Fields has revealed whether he's vaccinated.
Anthony W.
Marengo, Illinois

Fields told reporters during his weekly press conference Thursday that he's fully vaccinated. Some people were questioning whether the first-round draft pick from Ohio State was vaccinated because he typically wears a mask during his media sessions (and unvaccinated players are required to wear masks indoors). But Fields wears a mask just to be extra careful and, like I mentioned, revealed this week that he is fully vaccinated.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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