(670 The Score) It’s difficult to decide which type of quote about Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields should thrill fans more.
The exciting ones – which all seem to buzz and crackle with an electricity that’s already finding its way into the hyperbolic – or the boring ones, buried below three different types of ads for the last product you thought about buying on Amazon. A 40-yard bomb from Fields to receiver Damiere Byrd plays well on Twitter (and will certainly make for a great opening scene on the next episode of "1920 Football Drive"), but it’s the dry stuff – the stuff that doesn’t get aggregated – that may end up going further in rebuilding fans’ trust at that position for the first time in *insert years or decades here.* Still in the infancy of his NFL career, the 22-year-old Fields has already found a way to turn his teammates’ and coaches’ heads while, according to those same people, keeping his own.
“He already kinda carries that leader mantra that you rarely see in rookies, that I know I didn’t have,” running back David Montgomery said. “He’s great, and he’s progressing well. It’s good to see him, being as young as he is, being able to take the reins. Looking at Andy (Dalton), following behind Andy, Andy being able to show him the ropes. He looks great out there.”
Though Ohio State fans are happy to tell you otherwise, even the most prestigious college programs in the country don’t guarantee a successful transition to life in professional football. Still, Fields’ polish – most frequently described as a “quiet confidence” or “killer instinct,” depending on which cliché you fancy – has been abundantly clear since he walked through Halas Hall in that sharp maroon suit for the first time. Confidence doesn’t make a leader, but it sure as hell doesn’t hurt.
“You know, it's been a brief time that I've been able to be around him, but he's definitely confident,” center Sam Mustipher said. “He played at a big-time program in college, he's just a confident guy, very quiet. He goes about his work, doesn't really talk or say too much, which is great. I'm a person who just loves to do his job, that's what I like to do. I think he does the same thing, I appreciate that about him."
“He’s been awesome so far,” tight end Cole Kmet added. “Great person, great teammate. Comes into work every day with his head down, ready to do the right thing. He’s coming out here every day to be great, and you can see that. He’s learning from everyone and everything that happens. He’s been awesome to get to know and be able to play with on the field.”
Then there are, of course, the throws. You’ve seen them or at least read about them. You’ve definitely tweeted about them. Everyone is Dan Marino until you put the pads on (and play against Akiem Hicks), but for every quote about Fields’ stoic professionalism off the field, there seem to be three about his abilities on it.
“The very first one that he threw up to me, I was smiling mid-route of just seeing the ball in the air and just how, where it was placed,” receiver Darnell Mooney said.
“He threw a ball in a Cover-2 coverage, it’s a little hole shot that you have to try and get it in there,” running back Damien Williams said. “Perfect, back shoulder, right over the top of their heads. It was beautiful.”
The dichotomy – and maybe irony is the better word – of a Bears quarterback perhaps finally being worth the hype and yet seeming completely uninterested in it shouldn’t be lost on anyone. In fact, it should be celebrated and embraced. Gone are the days of putting quarterbacks through drills to see which throws they *can’t* make. The Bears already have that answer.
“He has that mentality of rip your heart out,” coach Matt Nagy said after OTAs on Wednesday. “And so there were a couple of plays in there — and not just (Wednesday) but other days — where these quarterbacks are staying aggressive. And you got to see a taste of that today with Justin, and he made the nice throw to (Byrd) down the sideline. And that ball just took off.”
Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.