LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- The Bears are building for a future they believe is bright, but such a path often brings challenges in staying focused in the present. That's especially difficult amid a long losing streak and lost season.
As two games remain for the struggling Bears (3-12), quarterback Justin Fields has his sights set on continued progress and concluding his second NFL season on a positive note. As a captain and leader of the team, the 23-year-old Fields is a driving force behind what the Bears want to accomplish in their last two games.
“I know we’re on a losing streak right now, but I think winning this week and winning the last week of the season, it would be great momentum going into the offseason,” Fields said Wednesday. “So, I think it’ll just feel good just ending a game with a win because we’re on an eight-game losing streak or something like that.
“Just feeling good, just the amount of work we put in and just the attitude of everybody in the building, just that positive mindset and going in to practice and to the meeting rooms, just wanting to get better. So just the work that we put in during the week and it paying off with a win, that’d definitely be huge, for sure.”
The No. 11 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Fields has been the brightest star in the Bears' dark season. He has completed 62.3% of his passes for 2,167 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while adding 150 rushes for 1,011 yards and eight scores on the ground in 14 games.
While the Bears have showcased growth on offense, their defense has struggled considerably. Chicago ranks 31st in scoring defense and has taken a significant downturn on that side of the ball since dealing linebacker Roquan Smith and pass rusher Robert Quinn just prior to the trade deadline on Nov. 1.
“You can do one of two things: You can put your head down and moan or you can go out and prepare for the next game,” Bears linebacker Nicholas Morrow said. “I think it’s easier when you have guys next to you that you like. Obviously, a lot harder when you have guys that you don’t like, but I think that for the most part, guys in the locker room want to play well for themselves -- I think that’s important -- and for the guys next to them.”
The Bears will be busy this offseason as general manager Ryan Poles prepares to continue his roster overhaul. Chicago projects to have more than $120 million in salary cap space and owns eight draft picks, including what currently is in line to be the No. 2 overall selection.
The hope is that Poles can lead the Bears to their goal of sustained success in the years to come. But during this challenging season, all they can do is keep working.
“No matter what’s happened the week before, everybody comes in the same, with the same energy,” Fields said. “The coaches do a great job staying on us, staying on the leaders of the team to bring that energy every day in practice and just having that mindset – just getting better each and every day and just approaching each day differently and resetting after each day and just coming in getting better that day.
“It’s never going to be perfect, so when you do hit that adversity or when you do hit that point in the game where something went wrong, the only answer is to just keep your head down, keep going and keep fighting and keep playing each play out and keep going. You can’t worry about what happened last game or the last drive. You’ve got to move and just say, ‘F it’ and go play.”
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.