Trevor Siemian Defined Why New Offense Is Nice For Justin Fields

It was a mild surprise when the Chicago Bears signed Trevor Siemian as their new backup quarterback. GM Ryan Poles explained that his experience was part of the interest, but more accurately it was his mobility. They felt he was someone that could run their new offensive system under Luke Getsy the way it was meant to. Such a scheme functions best when it has a quarterback that can move. For all his proven backup history, Nick Foles wasn’t a good fit.

As it turns out, the interest was mutual. Siemian reportedly had multiple teams interested in his services. Yet he chose Chicago over them. Why? Part of it was the sales pitch from Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus. However, it was also Getsy’s offense. He plans to install what is called the outside zone, or wide zone system. It has been made famous over the years by Mike Shanahan, his son Kyle, Rams head coach Sean McVay, and Packers head coach Matt Lafleur.

It is also a system Siemian is familiar with.

During his first two years in the NFL, he played for the Denver Broncos. Their head coach at the time was Gary Kubiak, a direct disciple of the elder Shanahan. In his second season, the former 7th round pick became the starter. He went 8-6, throwing for 3,406 yards, 18 touchdowns, and ten interceptions. There is no question he still has regrets about that. Not because of his hatred of the system. Quite the opposite. Kubiak retired following the 2016 season, and Siemian never got a chance to play in that offense any further. He probably wonders where his career might be had Kubiak stuck around.

That was why he came to Chicago. This week, he explained to the media that the wide zone is such a friendly system for young players. Especially quarterbacks like Justin Fields. Much of it stems from how good it is at generating successful play action fakes.

“You can lean on the wide zone, the zone scheme. The play-pass lets young players, be it quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, play quickly. I’ve bounced around and been in different schemes, but I’ve always looked over the fence and been like, ‘Yeah, I want to play in that again.’”

Trevor Siemian is correct in his assessment.

The wide zone system is built around the run game. It demands a lot from the offensive line, but it can turn almost any running back into a 1,000-yard guy when executed properly. When that happens, the play action game becomes deadly. Fields only threw 48 passes off play action last year. The Bears had the second-fewest such plays in the entire NFL last season despite having a top 15 rushing attack.

By contrast, the 49ers (Shanahan) and Rams (McVay) were both in the top 20 for attempts and finished 8th and 5th, respectively, in total passing yards off play action. Jimmy Garoppolo finished with a 98.7 passer rating, and Matthew Stafford won the Super Bowl. Trevor Siemian knows what he’s talking about. If Fields is worth anything as a quarterback, this new system under Getsy will help immensely.

Having the backup there with his prior experience only helps.

Recent rumors indicate Fields is absorbing the scheme faster than anticipated. He’s putting in a ton of work, and there are small flashes of his progress on the practice field. It will take time before he fully masters it. Still, this team is finally in a position where they might be able to play proper complementary football for their young QB.

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