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Fields declares Bears ready for season opener

Bears quarterback Justin Fields
Bears quarterback Justin Fields

During mandatory minicamp in mid-June, quarterback Justin Fields was asked whether the Bears were ready to play a game.

"No, I'm not ready for the season to start," Fields said at the time. "I'm the type of guy that would like to know I'm prepared. So right now, I'm just being honest, we're not ready to play a game. When that time comes, we will be ready."

Fast forward a little less than two months and Fields, as promised, declared Wednesday that the Bears are, in fact, prepared for Sunday's season opener against the 49ers. 

"Just the amount of time we've had together," the former Ohio State standout said, "we're all ready to play on Sunday."

The Bears offense made incremental progress throughout the summer, highlighted by a stellar performance in the preseason finale in Cleveland. Playing the first five possessions, Fields completed 14 of 16 passes for 156 yards with three touchdowns and a 146.9 passer rating in a win over the Browns.

Asked what excites him most about the offense's potential, Fields said: "Just what we can do if we all do our job, if we all do our individual responsibility. If we get off the ball, we all do our jobs and execute well, then our offense is really good."

The offense's top playmakers are expected to be running back David Montgomery, receiver Darnell Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet. The unit received a boost this week with the return of three key players who missed all or part of the preseason due to injuries: center/guard Lucas Patrick and receivers Byron Pringle and Velus Jones Jr., though Jones did not participate in Wednesday's workout due to a hamstring injury.

Getsy has been 'great with everything'

Fields said that there's "a lot of different stuff" in this year's offense compared to last season, but he declined to reveal any details.

"I'm not going to put it out there because we have a game coming up this Sunday," Fields said. "I'm not going to have the game plan out there, but there's a fair amount of stuff that's different, for sure."

One thing that Fields likes most about the new offense that's being coordinated by Luke Getsy is "just being able to do different things with having the same look. Being able to run different concepts, different plays with all the plays sort of looking the same. Just building plays off of each other."

Getsy joined the Bears this year after spending six of the previous seven seasons with the Packers as an offensive quality control assistant (2014-15), receivers coach (2016-17) and quarterbacks coach (2019-21) while also doubling as Green Bay's passing game coordinator the past two seasons. 

"He's been great with everything; footwork and timing, playing on time and the little details of playing quarterback," Fields said. "He knows what drills to work, what I need to work on. He's been great. I love having him here."

Eberflus provides valuable defensive perspective

Fields also loves working with coach Matt Eberflus, who despite a defensive background regularly attends quarterbacks meetings.

"He's always in our meetings, so he's always telling us the defense's job and what each guy's responsibility is on each coverage they play," Fields said. 

Eberflus was hired by the Bears in January after spending the previous 13 seasons as an NFL defensive assistant, including the last four as Colts defensive coordinator.

"He's a great person, funny guy, great coach," Fields said. "Just the way he talks to the team is with confidence. You really believe when he's talking to the team. I think it's great for our team, great hearing him. It's just great to have him as a head coach, great to have him leading our team, so we're all excited."

Fields details role as team captain

Named a team captain Wednesday for the 2022 season, Fields feels that his two most vital responsibilities in that role will be "just making sure our culture stays the way it is" and "leading the team in whichever way possible on and off the field."

"Those are the main qualities to be a leader," said the second-year quarterback. "Coach [Eberflus] says you've got to lead yourself first. I'm going to lead myself first and also lead the guys behind me." 

To Fields, the Bears' culture involves "our mindset on how we play the game."

"Play it fast. Play it hard. Play it throughout however long we have to play, whether it's four quarters, into overtime," Fields said. "Playing the hardest, playing the toughest and just playing smart."

Fields not motivated by draft snub

Fields refuted Mooney's recent assertion that the quarterback will be extra motivated Sunday because the 49ers passed him up in the draft. 

In praising Fields last Monday, Mooney said: "He's going to prove everything that everybody doubted him on, especially Week 1. That team passed on him. So they're going to have to pay a little bit for that."

The 49ers traded up in last year's draft to select quarterback Trey Lance with the third overall pick. The Bears later moved up to No. 11 to choose Fields. 

Fields said that he didn't take it personally, adding: "I'm glad to be here, so I'm glad that [the 49ers] passed on me. Just ready to play this weekend.

"The draft is the draft. You can take Mooney (a 2020 fifth-round pick). Shoot, he got passed by 32 teams. It's like, 'you're in the league now, do your job, execute at a high level.' It's Week 1 and we're here to play ball. We're not worried about last year's draft: 'Oh, this team passed on me.' I'm not thinking about that. It's not going through my head."

Get an exclusive look at the 2022 Chicago Bears gathering at Halas Hall to take the annual team photo.