Chicago Sun-Times

CLIMBING THE STAIRS TOGETHER

Offensive coordinato­r Getsy praises QB Fields, says they’re working to develop ‘great relationsh­ip’

- PATRICK FINLEY pfinley@suntimes.com | @patrickfin­ley

Bears quarterbac­k Justin Fields has a lot to learn between now and the start of training camp. He must master offensive coordinato­r Luke Getsy’s playbook before his teammates put on pads and, in Getsy’s words, ‘‘real ball starts.’’

Getsy, however, doesn’t want to set a limit on what Fields can learn between now and then. Nor does he want to take the long view of Fields’ developmen­t during organized team activities and mandatory minicamp the next five weeks.

‘‘We’re working through this thing step-by-step,’’ Getsy said at the end of the Bears’ rookie minicamp Sunday. ‘‘In order to be able to master our craft, we have to master each step. So we’re just — we’re staying on track.

‘‘I think he’s, if anything, ahead of pace. And I’m real excited to see, by the end of this thing, if we’re just going to keep knocking out these steps. That’s all.’’

How far up the staircase are they? Getsy laughed.

‘‘We’re climbing, we’re climbing, we’re climbing,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s all that matters.’’

The faster Fields can climb, the better — both for him and for Getsy.

‘‘I’ve been super-impressed with him, I really have,’’ Getsy said. ‘‘There’s no one in this building that works harder than him. There’s no one that cares more than him.

‘‘We’re off to a great start. He’s really accepted this challenge. We’re asking a lot of him, to learn a lot of new things. He’s been a pleasure to work with.’’

With coach Matt Eberflus coming from a defensive background, Getsy is the Bears’ top offensive mind. A longtime admirer of the Packers’ scheme, Eberflus knew he wanted to work with Getsy, who had been the Packers’ passing-game coordinato­r/quarterbac­ks coach before being hired by the Bears in January.

Together, Getsy and Fields will be the latest duo to try to figure out one of the most elusive questions in the NFL: How can the Bears develop a modern passing offense? In 103 seasons, the Bears never have had a passer throw for more than 4,000 yards. The Texans, by contrast, have done it five times in their 21 seasons of existence.

Former coach Matt Nagy’s offense yielded the third-fewest passing yards in the NFL last season, an average of 188.6 per game. In Nagy’s first three seasons as their coach, the Bears never finished above the bottom 12 in passing yards.

If he can get Fields rolling in a way Nagy couldn’t, Getsy would set a promising career path for both himself and his quarterbac­k. They’re going to have to do it together.

‘‘I was raised that the play-caller and the quarterbac­k have to have a great relationsh­ip, and that’s important,’’ Getsy said. ‘‘We have to be on the same page — always.’’

That started when Getsy began installing his offense, a mix of outside-zone and read-option runs with a vertical passing attack. He has been showing film from as far back as 2010 to teach the scheme, though he artfully dodged a question about how many of the cut-ups come from the hated Packers, for whom he worked for two stints.

Fields, Getsy said, has grown more comfortabl­e with him during the process. He sees that as a good start.

‘‘That’s where I’ve felt like he’s grown,’’ Getsy said. ‘‘He’s communicat­ing with me so well now, things that he’s feeling, things that he sees. And so that part of it has just been tremendous, for a young guy to be able to do that. These three or four months that we’ve been together, it’s been a lot of fun.’’

 ?? ASHLEE REZIN/SUN-TIMES, AP (ABOVE) ?? Of quarterbac­k Justin Fields (above), offensive coordinato­r Luke Getsy (right) says: ‘‘There’s no one . . . that works harder than him. There’s no one that cares more than him.’’
ASHLEE REZIN/SUN-TIMES, AP (ABOVE) Of quarterbac­k Justin Fields (above), offensive coordinato­r Luke Getsy (right) says: ‘‘There’s no one . . . that works harder than him. There’s no one that cares more than him.’’

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