Justin Fields was dealt a tough hand as a rookie, joining a fairly dysfunctional locker room with a head coach who was on his way out. It didn't help that the Chicago Bears' roster was not very good on top of everything else that went wrong in 2021. The first-round pick eventually found his way onto the field after injuries forced Matt Nagy to give up on Andy Dalton and it did not go well. Fields really only had two good games out of the 10 games he started.
But those two games were good enough to see the potential in Fields, the talent that made him a star at Ohio State. It was clear he'd need more help to get better, though. The Bears' offensive line was akin to Swiss cheese last season and any receiver not named Allen Robinson was a disappointment. Unfortunately for Fields, Chicago did not invest in offense very much during this year's NFL draft. They didn't have a ton of capital after giving up a first-round pick last year to get Fields in the first place, but only two of their first five picks play on the same side of the ball as Fields-- third-round WR Velus Jones Jr. and fifth-round OL Braxton Jones. The Bears also spent free agency shedding salary rather than going after high-priced pieces to support Fields in his sophomore season.
Dan Orlovsky has taken notice and spoke about the hand Fields has been dealt on this morning's Keyshawn, JWill & Max. He said that if Fields manages to overcome the obstacles set forth by his own team and actually play well in 2022, he'll be in the MVP conversation. That's how little the ESPN analyst thinks of the Bears' decision-making when it came to the offense.
It sounds a bit over-the-top, but Chicago really didn't do anything to help Fields out this offseason. Instead the new front office appeared to cater to new head coach Matt Eberflus and went after guys who fit his vision of the team-- guys who primarily play defense, given Eberflus was the defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts last year. That obviously will benefit Fields in different ways. If the defense is better then he probably won't play from behind as often as he did in 2021, will often receive better starting field position, can rest a bit easier knowing the team has a chance if he doesn't score, things like that. And Fields won't have to play at an MVP level to win games if the defense is good.
Still-- it would take a miracle from Fields to elevate the offense as it stands to an above-average level. Maybe even an average level. His No. 1 receiver is either Darnell Mooney or Byron Pringle. The offensive line's improvement is worryingly reliant upon somebody from this year's draft class to show up to camp ready to play.
If Fields still blows up despite all that, then yeah, maybe MVP isn't out of the question.