Bears GM backs Fields, 'encouraged' by progress

Bears GM backs Fields, ‘encouraged’ by progress

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles expressed his support for quarterback Justin Fields during an impromptu press conference inside Gillette Stadium hours before his team faces the New England Patriots during “Monday Night Football”.

“I know Justin was an important topic and his development,” Poles said. “And we’re encouraged by the progress that’s there. It’s not on the stats and on paper all the time, but it’s improving in a lot of different areas. I think overall we have to keep going. to play better around him as well to allow him to continue to play well and gain confidence and perform at a high level.”

Fields ranks bottom in the NFL in most statistical categories in his first six games of the season. The sophomore quarterback is 32nd in completion percentage (54.8%), off-target percentage (24.4%), sack percentage (13.5%) and pressing percentage (46, 2%). He also has the second-worst interception percentage (4.3%) and above-expectation completion percentage (-10.7%), according to Next Gen Stats.

Poles said he will look at “a few different things” in his assessment of Fields over the Bears’ next 11 games.

“How is he being used? Are we putting him in a position where he can be successful? And then the execution and the specifics of what he’s being asked to do and really speeding up the game and making decisions quicker “, said Poles. “But again, the beautiful thing about football is that it depends on everyone. Overall we have to improve, and I think we will see everyone’s stats improve. , then we’ll start to climb.”

In Chicago’s last game against the Washington Commanders, a 12-7 loss on October 13, Fields was pressured 18 times, a new career high. The Poles expressed concern that the quarterback was getting hit as often as he has been this season, but didn’t just blame the offensive line, noting that there is “a margin of improvement” for Fields to get rid of the ball faster.

“I would say when you look at the tape, there are give-and-takes about it,” Poles said. “I think it’s a bit faster. But there are also protective elements that also need to be improved. So it’s really a holistic view that needs to improve for him to stay upright.”

Poles was hired in January and led the Bears through the early stages of an offseason rebuild. The general manager opted to spend Chicago’s top two draft picks on cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker, both of whom started every game for six weeks.

The general manager didn’t question his decision not to invest more in the offensive line and receiving corps while expressing spontaneous praise for rookie left tackle Braxton Jones, who the Bears selected with a fifth pick. round.

“No. Talking about it, I was happy with Braxton’s position,” Poles said. “I think he’s a young player. There’s going to be ups and downs for sure. And those defensive lines are no joke. So he keeps growing, he keeps getting better. He going to be ups and downs with I think Lucas [Patrick] did some great things for the culture of our offensive line. You talked early on about Justin getting hit and not coming back. It’s improved. And we’re going to keep shaking things up and see if we can get that front to swell and keep improving.”

Asked about the possibility of improving Chicago’s receiving corps as the Nov. 1 trade deadline nears to improve the game around Fields, the Poles said: “I think regardless, we’re still going to be active to find out if he’s making phone calls or selecting picking up the phone and seeing if that’s something that can improve our team and that makes sense to us not just at the moment because I’m I’ve always talked about, it’s lasting success over a long period of time. You fix it all the time. Just mixing that up is hard because it takes a lot of discipline. So that’s what we balance.

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