Dan Campbell on preparing for Bears’ Justin Fields: ‘There’s no easy answer to playing this guy’

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The Chicago Bears have benefited from strong quarterback play since the offense underwent changes to better suit Justin Fields.

The No. 11 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft has been completing just over 65% of his passes over the past three games. He has only thrown one interception since the Bears’ loss to the Washington Commanders on Oct. 13 in a low-scoring affair.

Fields is also averaging 6.2 yards per pass attempt and has racked up 320 rushing yards over the three-game time span.

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The former Ohio State football standout received NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after his performance against the Miami Dolphins in Week 9. Fields finished that game with three touchdowns in the air and had a record-setting 178 yards on the ground.

Fields broke Michael Vick’s single-regular-season game record in the 35-32 loss. Only Colin Kaepernick had more rushing yards as a quarterback in 2012 for the San Francisco 49ers – but that mark came in the NFC Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers.

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The 23-year-old became first quarterback in NFL history with three touchdown passes and at least 140 rushing yards in a game, according to CBS. He also had a rushing touchdown against the Dolphins.

The NFC North rival Detroit Lions present the next challenge for Fields and the Bears on Sunday. Lions head coach Dan Campbell said he is well aware of how tough of a matchup Fields will be for Detroit’s defense.

“I think you’ve got to use a little bit of everything,” Campbell said, per Pro Football Talk. “Really, I think there’s a place to spy, I think there’s a place to pressure, I think there’s a place to really play more coverage and keep everything in front of you and then rally to it. 

“So, I think it’s all-encompassing, and a lot of that’ll have to do with third down, which will come tonight, tomorrow. But I think there’s no easy answer to playing this guy, because you see it all over the tape week after week. But it’s certainly something that we’re preaching, and it’s the cast the net, close the net.”

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Campbell also compared Fields’ style of play and unique abilities to a combination of three young quarterbacks in the league.

“I feel like you’re watching a little bit of Deshaun Watson in Houston, you’re watching Lamar Jackson, Baltimore. There’s a little bit of Jalen Hurts — just very quarterback-driven,” Campbell said. “Quarterback-driven runs, guard/tackle pulls, read the end, hand it off, these backs are running hard, they’re downhill. And then, there’s enough of the keepers off of it.

“There’s enough misdirection to the receivers. And then, certainly his ability on third down, that’s where they really got Miami was, man, there’s a number of third-and-8, third-and-10, third-and — there’s an opening in there, and he takes it, and he’s gone.”

Fields’ production has resulted in the Bears’ offense putting more points on the board recently. 

In the past three games, Chicago has scored at least 29 points after failing to score more 23 points in any of the first six contests.

Detroit is ranked 32 in total defense and is giving up 417.3 total yards per game. 

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