TO: Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus
OF: Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated
MATTER: My fault
In case my email was automatically filtered into a spam folder called “ignore this person who doesn’t understand football”, I decided to reprint it here. Hello, I’m the guy who wrote this offseason about how Justin Fields should consider demanding a trade.
I would like you to know that I am aware of my mistake.
Colts owner Jim Irsay said a lot of things that one might consider untrue during Jeff Saturday’s introductory press conference last week, but he asked a reporter rhetorically if his editor would ever fire him for being wrong, and that got me thinking. . While I guess my wonderful bosses wouldn’t kick me out for screwing up something like this (we get paid at the end of the month so I’ll let you know), it’s worth talking about accountability in the media modern and be able to say I was wrong.
So, in the moments after the 31-30 Week 10 loss to the Lions, which resulted in a missed extra point, I’m ready to take my meds. Fields, as you probably know, rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns, as well as his 167 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air. Last week, he scored four total touchdowns — three passing, one rushing — amassing more than 300 total rushing yards, including an NFL record for rushing yards by a QB during a regular season game.
Knowing during his rookie season that Fields had the potential for what he became in 2022, but seeing him irresponsibly wasted under the franchise’s previous regime, propelled me to a soapbox. The loss of veterans such as Khalil Mack gave me a heads up and not having added weapons around him in the offseason put the megaphone in my hand. It was a weird time in the league, if you remember. Urban Meyer nearly set Trevor Lawrence’s career on fire. Tua Tagovailoa was suspended by the Dolphins before Mike McDaniel was hired. People played Monopoly with talented youngsters and then let them wear the “bust” label like a scarlet letter without accepting some of the blame.
Here’s what I didn’t see coming:
• Maybe letting go of Allen Robinson, who has a career-low yardage with the Rams, was a net advantage. Not that Robinson is a bad player now, but not spending irresponsibly at the top of the receiver market, and instead forcing some of your young players to develop, was a better game than clinging to the rest of the game. a receiver. Likewise, added Chase Claypool and got a feel for how to use it before committing significant cap dollars.
• Maybe you saw the talent you had on the offensive line that we didn’t see. While PFF isn’t a perfect measure for offensive line talent, Teven Jenkins, when hit inside to guard, plays as well, if not better, than James Daniels.
• Perhaps you knew that you could getting a starting left tackle in the fifth round of the draft. Braxton Jones, my God, has talent. It’s also perfectly suited for that nice maddening rushing attack. You almost certainly knew that Chris Morgan and Austin King, the offensive line coaches, were going to maximize unity. Both Larry Borom and Sam Mustipher improved.
I didn’t see some of the wild ways you could get Fields out of the backfield, and to be fair, nobody in the NFL either. Fields will eventually become one of the top 10 quarterbacks in football starting next season. Cole Kmet’s sneaky little route that was attached to the zone read that gushed Fields for a 67-yard touchdown against the Lions on Sunday was an absolute boss kiss. In Week 8 against the Cowboys, some of the ways you invited Micah Parsons onto the field only to smash him on the blindside with a tight end or a tackle, creating huge gaps to cross, deserved an Oscar at the slow motion.
Back to accountability for a second: what happens when we’re wrong? Well, nothing, really. We have a few people who use the clown emoji on Twitter, but Twitter goes away at some point due to a similar inability to admit fault and recognize a blind spot in consciousness. Luckily, my Old Takes Exposed-worthy pieces did a little less harm to society. I’ll do my best to make it a walk of shame.
The important thing is that football writers learn from experience. Cutting the fat on a roster doesn’t necessarily mean the team is tanking. Not spending money doesn’t necessarily mean alienating a quarterback. Coaches and GMs deserve a longer track to prove they have everyone’s best interests in mind (at least a little over 45 minutes into their first offseason).
Either way, you’re probably busy getting ready for the Falcons next week. But you do it in an entirely different space than I had imagined. Of course, the team is 3–7. But Fields is a focal point of the game plan, not something that is hidden, abused or wasted. He is in a meeting. He’s someone you can talk about in the future without introducing a certain skepticism. From all of us who feared he wasn’t in the environment you built around him, all we can say is thank you.
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#Dear #Bears #owe #apology #Justin #Fields