Sharing a handshake and a quick hug Monday at Halas Hall, new Bears coach Matt Eberflus made a positive first impression on quarterback Justin Fields.
"I really just like the way he carries himself, just his demeanor," Fields said. "He's confident when he talks, he knows what he wants to do, he has a plan set in stone, and I'm just ready to lead with him and just get ready for next year."
Selected by the Bears with the 11th pick in the 2021 draft, Fields told reporters that he learned a lot from his rookie season, acknowledging that it was filled with ups and downs. Appearing in 12 games with 10 starts, he threw for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 73.2 passer rating. The former Ohio State star also rushed for 420 yards and two TDs on 72 carries.
Fields showed flashes of his dynamic dual-threat ability, most notably on a spectacular 22-yard touchdown scramble against the 49ers and by engineering a 75-yard TD drive to give the Bears a late lead over the Steelers. But he likely would be the first to admit that he also committed some rookie mistakes he needs to correct, such as taking too many sacks and failing to protect the ball at times.
Fields was the only Bears player who spoke at Monday's press conference introducing Eberflus and new general manager Ryan Poles. That, in itself, shows the quarterback's significance to the organization. It's no secret that his development in 2022 and beyond is the key to the franchise sustaining success.
"I'm excited," Fields said. "I think everyone knows, not only my teammates, but everyone around here knows that I'm willing to do whatever to win; willing to put in however much work there is needed to be put in. So, like I said before, I'm excited and can't wait to get to work."
During their introductory press conference, Poles and Eberflus both discussed the importance of putting all players in the best position to succeed. The plan is to accentuate their strengths and work on improving their weaknesses.
That no doubt was music to the ears of Fields, who possesses a rare combination of speed, size and athleticism at the quarterback position.
"It's important for coaches to run plays that their players are good at running," Fields said. "They already have a base idea what my strengths are, but me being able to communicate with them and tell them what my strengths are, we can get on the same page.
"There's going to be some new stuff that we didn't run last year that works and I've never run before that they're going to want me to learn. So, I'll talk to them and see what they need me to do and see what they need me to learn, and then work on that in the offseason. And by the time training camp comes around, I'll know it."
After showing promise as a rookie, Fields is excited to begin his second NFL season working with Poles and Eberflus.
"It's a clean start and a fresh start," Fields said. "Just talking to Ryan and coach, I think they have a great plan in place and I'm ready to follow it."
Get an exclusive look inside the Bears practice facility at GM Ryan Poles & coach Matt Eberflus signing their contracts, meeting the Chicago media and making their way through their first days on the job.