Detroit Lions: Justin Fields flourishing should leave fans unsettled

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears rookie quarterback, Justin Fields, may make the current Detroit Lions administration appear similar to past management teams.  Of course, you can do this in every single draft.  Hindsight is 20/20, and the Lions may have drafted a star, but in a quarterback-driven league, Justin Fields may end up being the quarterback that could have been.

The Detroit Lions had a chance to draft Fields with the no. 7 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft but instead decided to select the top-ranked offensive lineman in the draft class. Fields went a few picks later at no. 11 overall to Chicago after they traded up to secure his services.

For the record, I was hoping general manager Brad Holmes would pick Penei Sewell out of Oregon, but watching Fields command the Bears offense on Saturday made my stomach churn.

Not only because watching a Chicago Bears game makes me nauseous in general, but when you throw in the fact that the Detroit Lions may have passed up an opportunity to draft a dual-threat franchise quarterback that lands in Chicago, it becomes an insult to injury.

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Again, Sewell may become an All-Pro offensive tackle, and life is good, but if Fields becomes an elite talent in a quarterback-driven league, it will be a tough pill to swallow for Lions fans.  Not only because he’s a Bear, but he was also a Buckeye.

I admit that doesn’t mean much at the professional level; many Lions fans would still begrudgingly support a Buckeye at the NFL level, take Taylor Decker or Chris Spielman, for example.  But it becomes more despising when a Buckeye is leading the Chicago Bears, and the future looks bright.

Before drafting Fields, Bears head coach Matt Nagy made a commitment to veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, claiming he’d be Chicago’s starting quarterback for the 2021 season.  Then, after drafting Fields, Nagy reassured Dalton that he’d remain the starter.  Well, as I said many times in the past, you are the starter until you’re not.

I expect to see Dalton start the first few weeks of the season, but if Saturday’s contest, albeit a preseason game, against the Miami Dolphins, went, it won’t be long before Nagy hands the keys of the franchise over to Fields.

Dalton finished his day, completing two of his four pass attempts totaling 18 yards.  Fields was next, already ahead of veteran Nick Foles, and welcomed by the Bears faithful to a standing ovation.

Unfortunately for the Detroit Lions, Justin Fields looks like the real deal.

Fields finished the afternoon by completing 14/20 of his passes for 142 yards with a touchdown, plus he added 33 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.  I hate to say it, but Fields looked electric and very poised under pressure.

Fields’ overall athleticism jumped off the screen. His ability to scramble out of a collapsing pocket and keep his eyes downfield forced the Miami defense to make a decision; chase him or remain in coverage.  If the defense tried to force Fields, he’d rip it; if the defense cautiously waited in coverage, he’d tuck it and take off.

Year after year, I’ve enjoyed mocking the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterbacks from Rex Grossman, Jay Cutler, to Mitchell Trubisky, and hopefully Dalton, but this Fields kid has a different feel, and it should leave us a bit unsettled.  It seems the Lions are about to see Aaron Rodgers vacate the NFC North, yet another star at the position may emerge in the years to come.

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To many Detroit Lions fans, Fields will always be that player that could have been if he excels.  If he fizzles, Holmes and co. will look brilliant.