After learning new offenses in each of his first two offseasons in the league, the Bears quarterback returns for a second year in coordinator Luke Getsy's system.
"It's the first season I'm going into where it's my second year knowing the offense," Fields said following Tuesday's OTA practice at Halas Hall. "So [I] definitely feel more comfortable in it, just with my reads and stuff like that, just seeing what the defense is doing and stuff like that.
"It's truly amazing when you have that feeling going in, knowing where your guys are going to be, [being] more comfortable with the footwork stuff. It's been great. I've got to work on stuff in the offseason, [but] having that second-year experience with the same offense is great."
Fields' comfort in the system is buoyed by the support he receives from Bears coaches.
"It's awesome for me getting that trust from the coaching staff," Fields said. "[Reporters] don't see it, but we communicate here all the time. We trust each other fully. Just having them behind me, they know the kind of leader I am to my teammates. They know how great I want to be, the work I put in. It's just great to have them behind my back, for sure."
“It’s truly amazing when you have that feeling going in, knowing where your guys are going to be, [being] more comfortable with the footwork stuff.” Bears QB Justin Fields
Edmunds impressed with Fields
Free-agent acquisition Tremaine Edmunds praised Fields as a "tremendous athlete" and revealed that the 6-3, 228-pound quarterback is "a lot bigger than I thought he was." The veteran linebacker also described his new teammate as a hard worker and leader.
"You can see that he makes guys around him better," Edmunds said. "He leads from the front. His work obviously speaks for itself. Just seeing him go out there every day and grow, develop, spread the ball around, just his thinking, I'm seeing it firsthand and I'm excited.
"They've got a lot of good things going on on the offensive side. With his leadership and obviously his playmaking ability, it's something to be excited for, for sure."
Thursday night contests 'a positive'
NFL teams can play two Thursday night games for the first time this season, and although the Bears are one of only three clubs scheduled twice, head coach Matt Eberflus sees it as a good thing.
"I think it's a positive," he said. "You look at two Thursday games that are Game 5 (at Washington) and Game 10 (versus Carolina), you really have two mini-byes and I think that's a real positive for us. Gives us a little break after five games and 10 games. I think we have some good rest in there so we can rest and recover and get refreshed to play our best football."
Last season the Bears made some changes after conducting a thorough evaluation of their personnel and schemes following a Thursday night loss to the Commanders—and followed by averaging 31 points over their next four games, including a 33-14 win at New England.
On the mend
Eberflus told reporters that receiver Darnell Mooney and safety Eddie Jackson are "progressing right along where they're supposed to be" in their recovery from season-ending injuries in 2022.
"It's all positive and we expect them back soon," Eberflus said. "When they're back, they're back. When the medical staff clears them, they'll be cleared."
Changes coming to return game
NFL owners adopted a new rule Tuesday that will allow teams to start at their own 25-yard line after they fair-catch a kickoff anywhere inside the 25. It's the same rule that exists in college and is designed to reduce concussions that are sustained via collisions on kickoffs.
"I think it will change tactically what teams are going to do because the rule is in now," Eberflus said. "There's nothing you can do about it. But it will change. I think we'll get more squib kicks. I think you'll get more drop kicks, more drive kicks, those types of things, and make guys return it. I suspect you'll see more returns than less. That's just what I'm thinking about right now, but we'll see what happens."