Justin Fields has earned plenty of praise from teammates and coaches during Bears training camp, but perhaps no teammate has been more complimentary of his skill set than Jimmy Graham.
Graham spoke well of Fields in early August, citing the rookie’s “impressive” arm strength and desire to be great.
“Man, I love the kid,” Graham said, per ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson. “He sits beside me in the locker room and, man, he wants to be good. He wants to be great. He puts in the work. The guy really can throw the ball. That’s been impressive to see his arm strength.”
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When he watches Fields play, the veteran tight end is reminded of one of his former teammates: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
“I’ve got to get him matched up at some point with a guy up there in Seattle,” Graham said. “Especially, you know, the ability to make plays while you’re running, I think he’s going to have — it’s been impressive to see him so young, so focused. And I can tell [you] it definitely reminds me a lot of Russell Wilson.”
Wilson is an eight-time Pro Bowler who won a Super Bowl ring during his second season with Seattle. He was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2019 and led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes in 2017.
Bears fans won’t mind Fields drawing comparisons to players like that. And those who tuned into Fields’ preseason debut against the Dolphins on Saturday afternoon could see what Graham was talking about.
Fields started slowly in the first half but then played very well in the second half, leading the Bears on two touchdown drives in the third quarter. And there were definite shades of Wilson in his play.
He showed off his playmaking ability as he completed the first TD drive with his legs. Fields turned a would-be sack into a touchdown scramble.
Later in the quarter, he got the Dolphins to bite on a play-action fake and then hit a wide-open Jesse James for an easy touchdown.
Fields’ overall numbers were impressive. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 142 yards, rushed for 33 yards and totaled two touchdowns in the Bears’ 20-13 win. The 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft looked the part of an NFL starter.
For now, Fields is the backup to Andy Dalton in Chicago, but the Bears’ confidence in him appears to be growing as he gains command of the offense.
“They know he can make the athletic play, the spectacular play. They want to see [today] him mastering the nuances of their offense,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported before the game on “SportsCenter.”
Fields took a big step in that direction in his debut.