QB Justin Fields takes a step toward starting Sunday for the Chicago Bears versus the Green Bay Packers – Boston Herald
It’s looking more likely that Justin Fields will be ready to play with a separated left shoulder Sunday against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.
The Chicago Bears quarterback was a full participant in practice Thursday afternoon at Halas Hall, moving him a step closer to returning after missing the Week 12 loss against the New York Jets.
Fields suffered a separated shoulder and what he described as ligament damage during the closing moments of the Nov. 20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. He was limited in practice all last week and on Wednesday, when he is believed to have taken nearly all of the first-team reps inside the Walter Payton Center. The team went outside to prepare in the elements Thursday, and Fields had no restrictions.
“He’s kind of in the same boat as last week — day to day,” offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said before practice. “Getting better. Taking some reps like he did last week. We’ll play that thing out as the week goes.”
The Bears signed backup Tim Boyle to the 53-man roster off the Detroit Lions practice squad Wednesday, a precaution with Trevor Siemian missing a second consecutive practice with an oblique injury. Nathan Peterman remains on the practice squad, but as long as Fields looks good again Friday, it would be surprising if he didn’t return to face the Packers.
The Bears (3-9) have lost five consecutive games and eight of nine, but with only five games remaining, they are running out of opportunities for Fields and the offense to make improvements with an eye toward next season.
The Bears averaged 29.5 points in a five-game stretch through the Falcons loss when Fields was injured, so things were trending upward. The passing game remains very much a work in progress, but the running game with Fields involved has been dynamic and dominant.
“That’s been the focus all year, right, just that we continue to get better,” Getsy said. “The film-room sessions have been really good. He was locked in last week. He did a great job with that. He’s locked in again. We’ve just got to make sure we continue to progress and he’s got to continue to develop, continue to get these experiences so that we can continue to learn from them, he can grow.
“ ‘Cause that’s the biggest thing, these opportunities. It stinks that he wasn’t able to be out there because he needs as many opportunities, experiences as he can, but obviously we’re not going to risk it for just anything.”
The Philadelphia Eagles rushed for 363 yards against the Packers on Sunday, the third-most they ever have allowed. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts accounted for 157 of those rushing yards against the Packers’ 31st-ranked rushing defense, which is allowing 154.8 yards per game.
“Regardless of what was going on, can’t wait to always have Justin out there,” Getsy said. “Philly does a really nice job running the football a bunch of different ways, and we’ve shown that a lot throughout the year, a bunch of different ways. We hope to be able to have some of that success too.”
Fields missed four games because of injuries last season — two because of a rib injury and with a sprained ankle. Obviously he will need to be cleared by the medical staff to play Sunday, but a full green light in practice Thursday is a positive sign.
“It’s always nice having a guy like that back,” wide receiver Chase Claypool said. “He’s a playmaker, right? So we’re excited when he’s back. It gets the juices going.”
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