LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago quarterback Justin Fields took time Wednesday to clarify comments he made following the Bears’ loss to the Green Bay Packers, saying he did not mean to come off as dismissive of his team’s fans.
Fields drew some criticism on social media for his rather innocuous response to a postgame question. He was asked if the loss at Lambeau Field hurts more because of the rivalry and how much fans wanted a rare win over Green Bay.
“It hurts more in the locker room than the Bears fans,” he said. “At the end of the day, they aren’t putting in any work. I see the guys in the locker room every day. I see how much work they put in. Coming out of a disappointing loss like this, it hurts. We just have to respond.”
On Wednesday, Fields was asked about his approach toward addressing mistakes while not letting them linger. But rather than answer that question, he pivoted toward his postgame comments.
Fields said he was so “frustrated” afterward he didn’t even want to conduct his mandatory postgame news conference and wound up giving the wrong impression.
“What I meant by that is I’m talking about work regarding the game on Sunday, winning the game,” he said. “I don’t know any fans. I don’t know what they’re doing in their personal lives. I respect every fan that we have.”
Fields said he became aware of the backlash because he was tagged in comments. The former Ohio State star is chalking it up as a learning experience.
“I talked to my dad about it, and as long as I’m going to be in this position there’s going to be stuff like that that pops up,” he said. “So just knowing that as long as I’m in this profession that it’s never going to go away. So just gotta either be really clear to everything that I say, be really descriptive to what I mean, or really just don’t say anything at all.”
A more immediate concern for Fields and the Bears (1-1) is getting their passing game going, with Lovie Smith and the Houston Texans (0-1-1) visiting on Sunday.
Chicago has by far a league-low 153 yards passing. The New York Giants rank 31st in the NFL, and with 318 yards, they have more than twice as many.
A massive rainstorm pretty much washed out the passing game in Chicago’s season-opening win over San Francisco at Soldier Field. But the Bears didn’t get it going against Green Bay, either.
“I think it’s early,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “It’s so early in the season right now. We’ve got two games in, let’s let this thing move forward, OK? And continue to grow.”
Fields was 7 of 11 for 70 yards against the Packers. He has thrown a league-low 28 passes, and his 15 completions are tied for 31st among qualifiers. Only Dak Prescott with 14 has fewer, and the Cowboys’ quarterback missed Sunday’s win over Cincinnati following thumb surgery.
The struggles in the passing game aren’t all on Fields.
The Bears, for one, did not make major additions on offense during the offseason. The offensive line has been inconsistent in pass protection. Darnell Mooney, a 1,000-yard receiver last season, has just two receptions for 4 yards, and tight end Cole Kmet has not caught a pass.
“If I threw zero passes and we won the game, I wouldn’t have any problems,” Fields said. “Our goal as a team, as an offense is to win games. Nobody’s looking at how many passes did I have, how many yards did I have. We’re just all trying to win the game.”
NOTES: Star LB Roquan Smith (hip) missed practice Wednesday because of a hip injury. … WR Velus Jones (hamstring), S Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) and TE Ryan Griffin (Achilles) also did not participate.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talks with Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) after an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 27-10. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)