Justin Fields’ assessment of Jason Peters shows why Bears should bring LT back
Jason Peters has seen how special Justin Fields is, and the veteran offensive tackle also knows what the young Bears quarterback needs to reach his potential.
“He hurt himself right in the middle,” Peters said on Sirius XM. “He’s going to need his offensive line to block for him, give him time – because he’s young – to go through his readings. Once he gets older and gets into the groove, because right now , he’s going to be like a rookie with the new system pretty much with a new coaching staff, I’m pretty sure they have a whole new system for him, new games.
“As long as the offensive line gives him time, he’ll be fine this year. Once he establishes that offensive line, this guy will be special because he can throw, he can run, he can make all the plays that he wants. ‘He must do.”
Peters, who played 15 games for the Bears last season, said Fields is getting better with every game he plays. It’s a claim backed up by multiple PFF stats that put Fields among the NFL’s best in multiple categories over the final 10 weeks of last season.
Unsurprisingly, Peters, 40, nailed the key to Fields’ success in 2022. If he’s running for his life, it will be difficult for him to develop on his intended trajectory.
The Bears offensive line has several question marks just days away from training camp. New head coach Matt Eberflus is banking on solid play from Cody Whitehair at left guard and Lucas Patrick at center. The Bears were expected to have competition at right guard, but that position likely belongs to Sam Mustipher after Dakota Dozier was injured at mandatory minicamp.
That brings us to the tackle position, which has become a glaring problem for the Bears. Going into the OTAs, Larry Borom and Teven Jenkins were the Bears’ first-string tackles. However, midway through the offseason schedule, Eberflus made a change, switching Borom from left tackle to right tackle and inserting fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones as the starting blindside protector.
Eberflus was adamant that the line change was part of the Bears’ process to find the best combination and was in no way indicative of Jenkins’ performance.
This is a hard explanation to buy.
If Jenkins doesn’t return to his role as the starting right tackle early in training camp, the Bears would be wise to call Peters and try to bring in the potential future Hall of Famer to protect Fields’ blindside and help. to develop Jones. .
Peters didn’t hang up his headphones. He’s just waiting for a call.
“I’m looking for a rising offensive line [on a] good team or a playoff team,” Peters said. “Either way it’s good for me because I can teach or I can sit and listen and learn from other veterans of the game too.
Of course, the Bears shouldn’t be a playoff team. But Peters is clearly a Fields fan, and Eberflus could sell the 40-year-old on a player/coach role that would be integral to building the Bears’ new culture.
It might not work, but it doesn’t cost the Bears anything to try to get Fields to protect more.
The nine-time Pro-Bowler had a solid season last year in Chicago. He ranked 23rd in the pass blocking category among tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. Among tackles who played at least 800 snaps, Peters ranked 12th.
He allowed 28 pressures and six sacks in 517 pass blocks (853 total). It has also only been reported three times.
The Bears called Peters up nearly two weeks in training camp last season, and he was one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL.
Given how important this season is to Fields’ development, the Bears shouldn’t hesitate to call Peters up if it looks like Jenkins can’t be counted on to handle the right tackling duties.
Playing Borom on the right and bringing in Peters to anchor the blindside and guide the three young tackles would benefit Fields and the franchise this season and in the long run.
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