Outsiders Reportedly Shocked At Justin Fields’ Footwork Improvement

Playing quarterback in football is hard. Nowhere more so than the NFL level. In high school and college, it is often the best athlete that rules the roost. Justin Fields can attest to that. However, everybody is a great athlete in the NFL. Even freaks like him can’t survive on being the fastest runner or having the strongest arm. It takes playing the position the way it was meant to be played. That means standing in the pocket and delivering strikes in the face of defenders.

Ask any great QB, and they’ll say the same thing. The vital key to successful operation in the pocket is footwork. Everything starts with the feet. It determines their timing, accuracy, and velocity on every throw. Watch QBs with sloppy footwork, and you’ll notice passes that are often too far in front or behind a receiver. Keeping the feet square allows them to move around without losing their ability to hit a target in the right spots. That was a problem for Fields last year.

It was a big reason his completion rate was barely above 57% and why he seemed late getting to his next read so many times. He wasn’t listening to his feet. Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim Miller went to training camp to see if there were any notable differences. He came away started by what he saw and told Matt Eberflus as much during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Miller wasn’t the only one who noticed. Albert Breer of the MMQB attended Bears camp over the weekend. While running through five things that stood out, he pinpointed Fields’ footwork as something that looked significantly improved.

Justin Fields’ progress is showing up in practice.

Though the pads haven’t come on yet, it’s apparent the quarterback is operating at a higher level. He’s completing more passes with a high degree of accuracy. His ball placement is better, and he makes the right reads more often. He also does a better job of navigating his way out of pressure. There are still mistakes. That is only natural. It is a new offense with different requirements. Mastering the details takes time.

Still, to think Justin Fields is this far along, considering where he was at the end of last year, is beyond encouraging. It allows optimism to trickle into the 2022 season projections for the Bears. If the QB takes a big step forward, their chances of winning more games go up. No doubt Fields is extra motivated by all the national media declaring his season was a looming disaster. He seems dead set on serving epic amounts of crow.

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