Luke Getsy liked what he saw from quarterback Justin Fields in Saturday's preseason opener at Soldier Field, but the Bears offensive coordinator knows that there's room for improvement.
Playing the first three series in a 19-14 win over the Chiefs, the second-year pro completed 4 of 7 passes for 48 yards and a 78.3 passer rating. He also had a 10-yard rush.
"You got to see a little bit of everything of what we've been working on," Getsy said. "And then you got to see a little bit of athleticism where he can make up the difference if something's not right. So I thought it was a strong start for him, but not where he needs to be."
On a 19-yard completion to receiver Tajae Sharpe on third-and-9, Fields stood his ground in the pocket and released the ball an instant before getting hit by a blitzing defensive back.
On the very next play, however, Fields left the pocket too early—in Getsy's estimation—on a 10-yard scramble. Fields slid and was hit in the head by Chiefs cornerback Dicaprio Bootle, but no flag was thrown.
"He vacated too quickly," Getsy said. "He skipped No. 2 in the progression. He kind of went left/right and they took away No. 1. I think he got out of there a little too quick. That was the one play, honestly, that I wish we had back for him. I love the decision to slide, obviously, but he had a chance to maybe hang in there just a tick longer."
Getsy is confident that Fields will improve in that area of the game moving forward.
"That's experience," Getsy said. "I mean, he's 23, right? You can only get that by playing. Practice is great, but it's not a game. That's why it's important that he gets a few reps each preseason game, just to get that under his belt. And then I think the more he plays this year, the better he's going to get that feeling.
"Pocket presence is not an easy thing to teach. But he's got toughness and the guts to do it. When you're evaluating quarterbacks, that's one of the first things I'm looking for: somebody to have that willingness to stand in there, make your throw with your feet in the ground and get smacked in the jaw. He definitely has that."
Learning when to get rid of the ball in the NFL is an adjustment for all young quarterbacks, and it's something the Bears work on in every practice.
"Typically in college it's been my experience, you have a little bit more time to throw the ball than you do in the NFL, so your shot clock's way quicker," Getsy said. "You have to listen to your feet a lot more at our level. And when your feet tell you, 'that guy's not open, it's time to move on and go,' you can't hang on. That's the biggest thing.
"It's just the pace, it's the time clock that we're training the heck out of. I think he's starting to do a really good job with it. He had two plays out there [in Monday's practice] where he kind of, there was something, that like kind of twitch that he wanted to go, but then he's like, 'what, the pocket's great, let me chill.' And it was cool to see him respond that way."