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Bears linebacker T.J. Edwards sees 'similarities' between his former QB Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields

Linebacker T.J. Edwards has experienced a change of scenery this offseason, going from the NFC-champion Philadelphia Eagles to the three-win Chicago Bears, but he's found some familiarity in the teams' quarterback position.

"One thing with Jalen (Hurts) was he was always just kind of calm and collected," Edwards said on SiriusXM NFL Radio earlier this week. "That's why we looked to him so much, just because he was always that calming factor. You do see similarities with (Justin) Fields. He doesn't seem to get rattled out there in terms of when we're mixing up looks on him and stuff like that."

The comparison is a timely one considering Fields is entering his third NFL season.

Hurts, one year ahead of him, took a massive leap to become a dominant cornerstone of Philly's future in 2022. He set career highs in completion percentage (66.5), passing touchdowns (22) and passer rating (101.5) while tying running backs Derrick Henry and Austin Ekeler for the second-most rushing TDs in the NFL with 13.

His output placed him just behind Patrick Mahomes in AP 2022 Most Valuable Player voting, and his steady presence guided the Eagles to their fourth Super Bowl berth in franchise history.

It's the kind of leap the Bears need Fields to take, both in terms of leadership and performance, to escape the NFL cellar.

Chicago lost 13 of its final 14 games last year after surprising many to begin the season at 2-1, a stretch of failures Fields will be counted on to ensure does not repeat in the campaign ahead. As the team's offensive leader, he'll also need to help D.J. Moore assimilate into his new role as WR1, and compensate for the loss of veteran voices in the huddle, such as running back David Montgomery.

And despite Edwards commending his new QB's ability to avoid becoming rattled, Fields' pocket presence still requires drastic improvement if he is to replicate anything in the realm of Hurts' Year 3 jump.

Fields took a league-high 55 sacks last year, a number offset somewhat by his electric scrambling ability that netted 1,143 rushing yards, but it's a flaw that puts him in greater harm's way and tends to end drives before they start.

Evolving in that regard would also help Fields improve on his pedestrian passing numbers a year ago, when he threw for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Beyond the mental fortitude on display, Edwards believes Fields has all the physical tools required to do so.

"Dude's got such a strong arm, and he's been very accurate just about this entire OTAs and minicamp," Edwards said. "It's exciting to see, especially since he doesn't really add in the leg factor when we're just in helmets and things like that. So, I'm really excited to play with a guy like that, a guy who can make all the plays who can also lead this team. He's definitely the guy. It's exciting to be around, no doubt."

Should Fields end up treating fans come September to what Edwards has witnessed throughout the offseason, we could soon be comparing turnarounds in Chicago and Philadelphia, as well.

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