If the Chicago Bears want Justin Fields to have a miserable second year, they've done a splendid job.
Fields struggled through a rookie season marked by a horrible offensive line with limited weaponry, throwing for seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a 58.9 completion rate in 12 games.
Justin Fields is entering his second season as quarterback of the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately, his franchise has failed to support him in every way.
However, the offseason began with hope as head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace were relieved of their positions, replaced by Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles, respectively. Then the Poles smartly began a rebuild by trading frontrunner Khalil Mack for second- and sixth-round picks.
After the Mack deal, the Poles entered free agency and quickly did nothing. While the Bears shouldn't agree to long-term deals with big-ticket stars at most positions, they could have been beefing up the offensive line and providing Fields with some capable weapons.
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Instead, Chicago signed Buffalo Bills guard Ryan Bates on an offer sheet, which was matched. Then star wide receiver Allen Robinson left for the Los Angeles Rams. He was replaced by Byron Pringle, who in late April was arrested and charged with reckless driving with a suspended license, all with a child in the vehicle.
In the draft, the Poles again decided to do little for their franchise quarterback early on. The Bears had two second-round picks and went with both defensively. Finally, in the third round, Tennessee wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. landed in Chicago, before the Poles finished the festivities with a running back and four offensive linemen on Day 3.
All of this leaves the following as a possible starting lineup for Week 1:
Quarterback: Justin Fields
RB: David Montgomery
WR: Darnell Mooney
WR: Byron Pringle
WR: Equanimous St. Brown/Velus Jones Jr.
TE: Cole Kmet
T: Teven Jenkins/Larry Borom
G: Dakota Dozier/Cody Whitehair
C: Lucas Patrick
It's arguably the worst situation for any quarterback in football, and he's certainly in the top three along with the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans.
Also, think about Fields' perspective. In his draft class, four other first-round quarterbacks were taken.
Trey Lance is in his first year and is surrounded by an offensive guru in head coach Kyle Shanahan, and has tight end George Kittle, receiver Deebo Samuel and an excellent frontcourt.
In New England, Mac Jones has coach Bill Belichick, fantastic blocking and quality defense. With the New York Jets, Zach Wilson greeted wide receivers Corey Davis and Garrett Wilson, tight end C.J. Uzomah and rookie running back Breece Hall.
Trevor Lawrence dealt with hell his first year, but now he has a Super Bowl-winning coach in Doug Pederson, an improved line and weapons in receivers Laviska Shenault, Christian Kirk and Marvin Jones, and running back James Robinson.
By comparison, Fields has been given nothing but the pressure and expectations that come with being a first-round quarterback in a city starved for talent at the position. After all, the Bears are the only franchise that has never had a sign-caller for 4,000 passing yards or 30 touchdowns in a single season.
Finally, do the Poles think he gave Fields an improved team? And if he does, will the Bears get impatient if they fall into the crater in 2022 and can potentially draft Bryce Hall or C.J. Stroud next spring?