Bears OC Shane Waldron ‘exchanging messages’ with Justin Fields

By Thomson Reuters Feb 22, 2024 | 1:53 PM

Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron plans to build his system around the players available when he arrives at organized team activities.

“Once we know each other, you do develop relationships with people, you get a chance to coach them harder and coach them better,” Waldron said Thursday.

The Bears have the No. 1 pick and a decision to make about whether to commit to 2021 first-round pick Justin Fields or select one of the top-rated prospects in the first round in April.

Waldron said he’s starting prep for the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday afternoon, including a more in-depth look at presumptive No. 1 pick Caleb Williams of USC.

“The tape is obviously their resume as a player. What I look forward to is understanding and getting to know — what’s their why?” Waldron said. “The combine is the first chance to see some people in-person and get to know those guys outside of just the great displays of what they’ve put together Saturday afternoon or night on the field.

Waldron said when he was hired that most of the conversation about the quarterback position was lumped into his ability as a coach to be adaptable and build a system around individual skill sets.

“A lot of the conversation on offense revolved around adaptability. What can you do with different pieces of the puzzle? It’s our job first to be great teachers and put guys in the best position to have individual success and great team success,” Waldron said. “What concepts do we want to have when we start our OTAs, that’s the first part of it. You build it around the player’s skill set. That’s been a part of my core beliefs.”

Waldron said he has “exchanged messages” with Fields and will have more contact with him in the coming days.

Fields has one year — and a possible fifth-year option for 2025 — remaining on his rookie contract. Waldron is likely to have a say in whether the former Ohio State standout is equipped to move the franchise forward as the QB1. Waldron said he hasn’t done a detailed individual evaluation of Fields or any other offensive player on the roster yet.

“In the past experiences with different quarterbacks with different experience levels … different quarterbacks have been able to step into the system, learn it quickly,” Waldron said. “Without getting into specific personnel talk right now, it’s an ever-changing scenario this time of year with free agency. Obviously at the quarterback position with the ability to be explosive, work off-schedule.”

–Field Level Media