- Dawson Haywood
This is a very loaded question because there are multiple variables that will dictate whether or not Justin Fields winning the rookie of the year is even in the realm of possibilities. Anybody that saw Fields play ball in college knows just how athletic and special he is. His 20-2 record at THE Ohio State is evidence of that.
Through his first three starts, Fields holds a 2-1 record with his only loss being a direct result of Matt Nagy calling the shots on the offensive side of the ball. His win against the Lions was expected regardless of who was calling the shots because it is the Lions but the offense looked significantly better suited for Fields. Thankfully Bill Lazor was given the green light to call the plays on the offensive side of the ball and this was evident, especially this past weekend when Chicago traveled to Las Vegas.
The Raiders were going to be a real test and would give Bears fans a good feel for how the rest of the season is likely going to go. Coming into the game the Raiders were 3-1 and held the top spot in the AFC West with the LA Chargers. Though Chicago relied heavily on the running game, the defense looked like the Chicago defense of 2017 when they brought Khalil Mack onto the scene. This win against the Raiders should open Matt Nagy’s eyes as to what needs to be done and give the team the confidence boost that they need going into these next few weeks.
With a win in Las Vegas, there are a few things that the Bears need to stay consistent with. Bill Lazor needs to remain the shot caller for the offense and Matt Nagy needs to allow his coordinators to cook. These next five weeks are going to be a challenge for Chicago as they take on Green Bay, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore until they get a little bit of a break and play Detroit again.
Fields is currently the only rookie quarterback with a winning starting record. With Bill Lazor calling the shots, Fields has not lost. Though the season was in question for the Bears they are beginning to figure it out. Unless Matt Nagy decides to go his own route and not take the advice from his coordinators and his higher-ups, Fields does have a real chance at winning the rookie of the year, even if the Bears do not have that great of a season.
This is going to be a development year for Fields, no question about that. Starting him this season and letting him struggle will allow him to get comfortable in the pocket and acclimate to the NFL level of play. We know that Fields is a smart quarterback based on his aptitude test scores. We also know that Fields is very athletic and can make big plays based on his career at Ohio State. Competent coaching may be what Fields needs to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league in years to come.