“Greatness doesn’t happen overnight … it’s a process,” Fields said this week.
The 11th overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft, Fields has trusted the Bears’ process since he set foot inside Halas Hall.
While outside forces have understandably pushed for Fields to take over as the starter, Matt Nagy and the coaching staff have stuck to their plan — Dalton is the No. 1, Fields No. 2 and Nick Foles No. 3.
Training camp reps have not been evenly divided, but Fields has taken a good amount of snaps for a second-string quarterback.
“If there was  snaps, Dalton could get 100 and it might be Justin getting 90 … it is not equivalent,” Nagy explained.
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Still, Fields sees enough action daily to properly evaluate his growth over the past several months.
“I’m very happy with my progress,” Fields said. “I think my goal is to just improve every day. Me and coach Nagy talked about it and it’s just literally getting better every day.”
Fields has literally been “the man” at every stage of his football career. However, taking a small — and temporary — step backward has paid dividends for the first-year passer.
“It’s been good to be honest with you,” Fields said. “Literally I’m just trying to stay positive and just take it day by day and get better. Andy’s been in this league for, what, 10 years now? So, I mean, he knows the playbook like this and that. He’s smart. So he’s teaching me a lot. I’m just going to take everything I can and learn from him and Nick. … I’m just going to be a sponge and kind of soak everything in and just learn everything that they tell me.”
“I’ve just gotten more comfortable [since the end of minicamp]. Just spending more time in the playbook, spending more time with the coaches. I think just kind of going back to studying the first installs we did at rookie mini-camp and stuff like that. I’ve just gotten more comfortable with the plays and with the offense. And instead of trying to remember the playcall in the huddle, I actually picture it in my head so I actually can like see the playcall when I’m saying it to the other guys.”
The next step in Fields’ progression are preseason games.
In past years, Nagy was sometimes cautious with starters/high profile players in the exhibition contests, but he’s since changed gears.
Barring an unforeseen turn of events, Fields ought to receive ample playing time in at least two of Chicago’s preseason games (Miami and Buffalo).
“My mindset has shifted more towards the aggressiveness this year with preseason,” Nagy said. “One thing I took from all this is that you know being able to evaluate players the preseason is real. You have real tackling, you have real situations. It’s hard in these other times during the offseason to evaluate talent.
“Right now, our definition of where we’re at right now is competition and that’s what we believe that the only way to sort that competition out is being able to do that in preseason games so that’s everybody. When you get specifically to the quarterback, and to Justin again, we’re excited to see what he can do in real situations and that’s a part f the evaluation process that you all keep hearing me talk about is, we’ll know and we’ll see it, so in preseason he’s going to get a healthy amount of the reps and we’re going to be able to see what he can do.”