LAKE FOREST, Ill. – There are usually two main questions that are presented to a head coach ahead of a preseason opener: How much will the starters play and will the starting quarterback take the field?
Matt Eberflus had an answer when it came to the Bears’ signal caller on Wednesday.
“Yes,” said the head coach when asked if Justin Fields will play against the Titans in the team’s preseason opener on Saturday at Noon at Soldier Field.
How much time he’ll see, along with the rest of the starters, is still being sorted out as the Bears still have another practice before the contest with Tennessee. Ebeflus said they’ll have a discussion about how many reps each player will play in the contest, and that’s the case for Fields as well.
So what is Eberflus looking for out of the quarterback when he steps on the field for the first time in a game situation this season, even if it is just an exhibition contest?
“When you’re looking at the quarterback position, the operation No. 1,” said Eberflus. “Can we get in and out of the huddle crisp, execute the play, if we have any run-to-pass or pass-to-pass, run-to-run stuff going on. I think we’ve got to make sure we look at that.
“Can he make all the protection calls that he needs to make and make the adjustments. Just the operation and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Fields should be a bit more comfortable than last year considering that he’ll be running the same offense, which was not the case last season. Luke Getsy’s scheme is much more familiar in year two for the third-year quarterback who hopes to take another step in his progression this season.
In the preseason opener against the Chiefs in 2022, Fields was in for three drives and 18 plays, finishing his drive early in the second quarter. He was 4-for-7 passing for 48 yards with one run for ten yards at Soldier Field.
As one might expect, Eberflus will do what he can to give Fields a chance to get quality work in without overdoing it with two more exhibition then 17 regular season games ahead over the next five months.
“You’re always mindful of that, certainly, with your starting quarterback,” said Eberflus when asked about making sure not to put Fields into any bad situations in preseason game No. 1. “Who is the line in front of him, you’re always mindful of that, and what types of plays. So we’re always discussing that, but he’s going to be in there playing.”
As for the rest of the starters, Eberflus said the playing time will vary from player to player, depending on his situation.