If Major League Baseball had the Field of Dreams game, the NFL had Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears take the league by storm.
The rookie quarterback from Ohio State finished his preseason debut with 14 completions, 175 total yards, and two touchdowns.
It was an understatement that he had a better performance than projected starter Andy Dalton.
Did Fields perform enough to unseat Dalton from the top spot?
That’s too early to tell, but there’s no way head coach Matt Nagy will leave the debut unnoticed.
Here are other assessments from Fields’ NFL opening act.
3. He’s Still A Rookie After All
Fields did have a sluggish start before owning the second half of their game against the Miami Dolphins.
His first three drives ended in three-and-outs.
Throughout those possessions, he managed to have just three rushing and 10 passing yards.
He also fumbled and nearly lost the ball to the Dolphins’ Shaquem Griffin.
Make Justin Fields QB1 already 🗣️
— PFF (@PFF) August 14, 2021
Finally, he made progress in his fourth drive before halftime.
Fields connected on five passes for 42 yards to set up a successful 53-yard field goal by Cairo Santos.
Those were the only points that the Bears scored in the first half.
For all the promise he manifested, his first sequences depicted his vulnerability.
He will have no immunity to struggles once the season commences.
Therefore, the Bears must still be cautious in bringing him into the NFL game.
2. He’s A Potent Two-Way Player
It seems like having a mobile quarterback is the rave nowadays.
Fields did show that he can extend plays with his feet, and that will be an asset moving forward to keep defenses guessing.
However, he also showed some comfort as a pocket passer.
He had impressive command in the pocket when needed to start connecting on his throws.
His eight-yard touchdown run manifested his skill of freezing defenders before blasting toward the end zone.
The NFL is too slow for Justin Fields 🤣 pic.twitter.com/pkL9nhaeWk
— PFF (@PFF) August 14, 2021
Adjusting to what the defense is giving also displays his in-game awareness.
But while he showed promise, Fields’ performance must be taken with cautious optimism.
After all, the Dolphins played second and even third-stringers on defense for most of the game.
That’s a significant reduction in the talent level that Fields faced which somehow gave him free rein.
1. He Will Take Over, Sooner Than Later
Dalton’s days as the Bears’ starter are numbered, even if Nagy vouched for him as their top quarterback.
If he goes into a slump, Fields’ potential will always be a tantalizing option.
When will the change happen?
Only time and Dalton’s performances can tell.
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) August 14, 2021
There’s still a chance that the Pro Bowler turns out to be the play-caller that the Bears needed.
He did show flashes of brilliance for the Dallas Cowboys last season as Dak Prescott recovered from injury.
Likewise, hurrying Fields’ ascent as the team’s starter might prove to be detrimental.
Some terrible performances can have an adverse effect on his confidence.
Therefore, it is still better for Fields to learn the ropes from the sidelines before testing the waters.
But the optimism he planted in his preseason debut will turn into harvest at the middle or late into the 2021 NFL season.