Luke Getsy makes high demands on Justin Fields. 4 things we heard from the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator. – The Denver post
It can’t always be easy for Luke Getsy.
After leaving the Green Bay Packers and the privilege of working with a four-time MVP quarterback on a high-powered offense, there must be days when the headaches at Halas Hall prove intense, when the urgency of trying to accelerate the growth of the Chicago Bears offense leads to impatience and frustration.
Quarterback Justin Fields, in his second training camp and with just 10 career starts, is no Aaron Rodgers, who has won more division championships (eight) than Fields has touchdown passes.
The Bears, who have averaged 319 yards and 20.7 points over the past two seasons, are not the Packers (377 yards and 29.1 ppg over that span). So naturally, what Getsy works with daily in Lake Forest bears little resemblance to the machine he helped run in Green Bay.
With two preseason games and three weeks to go in Week 1 practices, the Bears offense is still trying to find stability on the line while looking for healthy and productive point guards in the passing game. .
So how has Getsy handled his transition to the Bears’ offensive coordinator in recent months? How did he learn to recalibrate his patience levels so he could quell any bubbling turmoil with a healthy dose of perspective?
“There’s a balance between asking and being patient,” Getsy said, “and setting an expectation and letting them know it’s not OK for certain things (to spit). Then at certain times you have to always remember to go pat them on the back too and let them know you care because I do.
“Yet there must be a demand too. There must be an expectation. We set our standards very high. And I don’t care if it’s three months or three years in this thing. We must meet these standards.
Getsy looked comfortable Monday after the Bears’ 14th practice in training camp. Two days away from a 19-14 preseason victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field, he recognized the clear need to develop his offense.
Fields oversaw three possessions and took 18 snaps. The Bears pitched on all three hits and won just four first downs. More production will be needed when the games count next month.
At the same time, Getsy admired Fields’ poise and determination. He was happy with the Bears’ huddle mechanics, the quarterbacks’ use of pace and the ability of the offense as a whole to avoid scuffs and penalties before the break.
The thumbnail review of Fields’ first playing opportunity in 2022?
“It was a good start for him,” Getsy said, “but not where he needs to be.”
As the Bears turn their attention to a second preseason game Thursday night at Lumen Field against the Seattle Seahawks, here are four other notable things Getsy shared.
1. Justin Fields pocket presence, while stable overall, is still a work in progress.
Getsy was asked specifically about Fields’ first-quarter scramble that went into the playbook like a sack after he sprang from the pocket to his right and slid down the line of scrimmage.
Most Bears fans were foaming about the Chiefs safety shot that Juan Thornhill put on Fields as he slid, adamant that a personal foul should have been called. But Getsy seemed more concerned with Fields’ decision-making during that streak, criticizing his choice to come out of a fairly clean pocket without working his reads properly.
“He left too quickly,” Getsy said. “He skipped No. 2 in his progression. … It was the only game, honestly, I wish we had found it.
Teachable time? Absolutely. Reason to worry? Not yet.
It’s an area of Fields’ game that he will need to continue to refine, developing his instinct for knowing when to take off and when to hang on.
Deep in training camp now, Fields has had a high volume of fallback and run situations during practices. These came for many reasons.
The offensive line has been shaky at times. The revolving door of the receivers Fields worked with created timing and separation issues. And Fields turned on the jets as a choice periodically, sometimes using one of his greatest strengths wisely while taking off at other times when he would have been better served standing in the pocket or initiating a scrambling exercise.
For Getsy and quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko, Saturday’s scramble-slide-bag moment stands out in the teaching process.
“He was lucky to stay maybe a little longer,” Getsy said.
So how can the Bears coach feel about Fields?
“It’s the experience,” Getsy said. “I mean, he’s 23, right? You can only get it by playing. And practices are fine, but they’re not a game. That’s why it’s important that he gets a few reps in every preseason game, just to have that under his belt. Then I think the more he plays this year, the better he will get with that feeling.
“Pocket presence is not an easy thing to teach. But he has the tenacity and the courage to do it.
2. Footwork remains a major focus for the coaching staff as they work to improve Justin Fields’ timing.
It would be unfair at this point to throw Fields as nervous in the pocket. Not even close. His 19-yard completion to Tajae Sharpe to convert a third and a 9 on the Bears’ third possession was an example of his grit and willingness to stay strong and shoot while making the right throw under pressure.
Getsy identified this trait in Fields a long time ago, although Saturday was his first opportunity to see him displayed as a Fields coach.
“When you’re evaluating quarterbacks, that’s one of the first things I look for – someone who has that willingness to stand there, make your throw with their feet on the ground and get hit at jaw,” Getsy said. “He definitely has that.”
Getsy was quick to point out that he would focus on improving footwork with his three quarterbacks – Fields, Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman – after Saturday’s performance left something to be desired.
“As far as timing and pacing, they were a bit off,” Getsy said. “The juice was flowing a little.”
The Bears try to program Fields not only to understand the timing of their plays, but also to feel the time of these games. And that feeling often starts with the feet. So keep an eye out in the coming weeks to see if Fields can stick to the schedule in the passing games at a level his coaches like.
“In college you have a little more time to throw the ball than you do in the NFL,” Getsy said. “So (now) your shot clock is much faster. You have to listen to your feet a lot more at our level. And when your feet tell you a guy isn’t open, it’s time to move on and go. You can’t hang on.
“That’s the most important thing. It’s just the rhythm, it’s the stopwatch we train with. He’s starting to (get it) and does a pretty good job with it.
Getsy identified two plays in Monday’s practice in which Fields looked like he tried to break his pocket to get around, but didn’t.
“He was like, ‘Wait. The pocket is great. Let me relax. And it was cool to see him react that way.
3. Luke Getsy will spend match days on the sidelines rather than in the coaching stand.
The dynamic for a play caller is different near the action than it is with a bird’s eye view but detached from the intensity. Getsy said he preferred the view and the feel on the pitch.
“There’s just a comfort of being on the pitch,” he said. “You can look someone in the eye, have a conversation with them, see how they really feel when you ask them a question. You can have great conversations with everyone on offense, not just the quarterback.
“I am a sensitive person. Damn, when I play golf, if I don’t see it, it gets ugly. But if I can see it and feel it, it’s going pretty well. And I’m the same with this game. I like to see it and feel it. And I feel like I see the game, honestly, better from the pitch.
4. Luke Getsy was candid with his assessment of two young offensive linemen.
Rookie Braxton Jones played 18 snaps at left tackle on Saturday and received this comment from his coordinator: “It has to be better.”
Still, it’s worth noting that the Bears retired Jones along with the other starting offensive linemen, clearly believing he has the best chance of being their Week 1 starter at left tackle. And even with a clear need for improvement, Getsy feels encouraged by Jones’ development direction.
“I would say for a guy who just got here and was put in one of the toughest positions in our game, he really (well) handled it for a first chance,” Getsy said. “But we have to move it forward.”
Teven Jenkins, meanwhile, played 36 snaps at right tackle with a few highlights and a handful of errors. Jenkins mingled at right guard with the second unit for much of Monday’s practice.
“In our system, guards are more mentally stressed than tackles,” Getsy said. “So he’s someone where that’s the strength of his game. So we want to try that and see what that looks like in what we’re trying to do.