Like the rest of Bears nation, quarterback Justin Fields is fired up about the upgrades that have been made on both sides of the ball this offseason.
"I feel like we've got a lot of pieces on offense and defense," Fields said in an exclusive interview with ChicagoBears.com. "I know everybody's excited [about] really just the whole team and the players we've got. So [we're] just going to keep working, keep stacking each and every day and get better."
General manager Ryan Poles has surrounded Fields with talent, trading for No. 1 receiver DJ Moore; signing guard Nate Davis, running back D'Onta Foreman and tight end Robert Tonyan in free agency; and selecting tackle Darnell Wright, running back Roschon Johnson and receiver Tyler Scott in the draft.
The most accomplished player to join the offense this year has been Moore, who spent his first five NFL seasons with the Panthers, catching 364 passes for 5,201 yards and 21 touchdowns. The 5-11, 210-pounder topped 1,100 yards in three straight seasons—with 1,175 in 2019, 1,193 in 2020 and 1,157 in 2021. Last year he had 63 receptions for 888 yards and seven TDs for a Carolina offense that had three quarterbacks all start at least five games.
"I've known DJ for a little bit now," Fields said. "I can tell he loves the game, he's a hard-worker and, of course, he's talented. He's proven that over the past few years playing with the Panthers. So, it's great to have him; another weapon to add to our offense. He's going to bring a lot of energy, a lot of leadership to the room. Everybody's excited to have him, so it's going to be fun."
On Moore's first night in Chicago following the trade, Fields went out for dinner with the receiver and his family. Fields later attended a Chicago Bulls game with Moore and fellow receivers Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool.
"I think it's important, being the quarterback, for me to build that camaraderie with everyone," Fields said. "His first night here, I went out to eat with him and his family. That was cool to get to know him a little bit. We didn't know each other that well at that point, but the more time we've spent with each other the more comfortable we've gotten around each other. He's a great person and, of course, a great football player."
Fields is just as fired up about continuing to grow with teammates he worked with last year as they enter their second season under offensive coordinator Luke Getsy.
"I can tell the guys who were in the offense last year are way more comfortable this year with the playbook," Fields said, "and focusing on the defense rather than just the little stuff with the offense because they know it, they know the foundation of it."
“I feel like we’ve got a lot of pieces on offense and defense. I know everybody’s excited [about] really just the whole team and the players we’ve got.” Justin Fields
Check out what the Bears have cookin' this season with help from Chicago's own Mr. Beef.
With more talent around him and a year of experience in the offense under his belt, expectations are high for Fields, with the Bears counting on him to made strides as a passer in 2023.
Fields blossomed into an electrifying playmaker last season, rushing for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns on 160 carries and throwing for 2,242 yards with 17 TDs, 11 interceptions and an 85.2 passer rating. His 1,143 rushing yards were the second most by an NFL quarterback behind only the Ravens' Lamar Jackson's 1,206 yards in 2019.
Fields also set a single-game record for rushing yards by an NFL quarterback with 178 against the Dolphins. In addition, he became the first quarterback with three TD runs of at least 50 yards, the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era with a rushing TD in six straight games and the first quarterback to rush for at least 70 yards in five consecutive contests since at least 1950.
Fields revealed that the one aspect of his game he's working on the most this offseason is getting the ball out of his hands quicker.
"Just being more consistent with my quick game stuff," he said. "I feel like down the field I'm pretty accurate. Just being more consistent with getting the ball out faster, being more accurate, giving my wide receivers, my running backs, tight ends a better chance to catch the ball and run for extra yards. I'm focusing pretty hard on that this offseason."
Getsy is confident that the continuity he's developed with Fields will pay dividends.
"I think any time you can be together with somebody and keep that consistency, there's going to be growth," Getsy said. "He has a lot more growth ahead of him and we're excited to tap into that.
"Where he was at this time last year to where he is now, I think he's just light-years ahead of where he was, and I feel like he has a ton more to grow forward. We're excited to try to get the best out of him moving forward and keep working toward where we think he can go."