Chicago Bears quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko has lauded second-year pro Justin Fields for his improved command of the NFC North team's offensive playbook.
Fields endured some typical rookie growing pains in 2021 - and faced some extraordinary obstacles to success that emerged due to the decisions of others as the Bears, 31/10 to make the playoffs this season, finished with a dismal 6-11 record.
He flashed his throwing talent in games such as Chicago's Week 9 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers when he went 17-of-29 passing for 291 yards and one touchdown with only one interception.
But he was all too often left lying on his back on the turf as a propensity to hang on to the ball too long gave the Bears' brittle offensive line little chance of keeping the pocket clean.
Ahead of what all Chicago hopes will be a better season under new head coach Matt Eberflus, Fields has clearly been putting in the homework away from Halas Hall.
"The fact he can come in and spit out a play call means that last night he was sitting at home probably in the mirror talking that play out," Janocko said, via chicagobears.com.
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"Different offenses have different ways of communicating things, and the fact he's picked up on some of our language quickly and that he can spit it right back at you without stuttering, without having to think about it or process, that it all just clicks in his head, that's a mental aspect that takes time to develop and that takes effort away from the building.
"He has really gone to work mentally in the classroom," Janocko added, "away from the classroom, what he is doing with his iPad at night, how he studies, how he is ready and prepared the next day, how he comes and approaches every day."
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