Justin Fields receives condemnatory review from watchful Steelers insider

Early reviews of Justin Fields have not been encouraging; Here's why Steelers QB coach Tom Arth must act fast.
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Since the Pittsburgh Steelers shockingly traded for Justin Fields, fans have been hoping that the team would view this as a true quarterback competition between Fields and Russell Wilson. Following the trade acquisition, Mike Tomlin and OC Arthur Smith have noted that Wilson is in 'pole position' of the starting gig in 2024.

Theoretically, this could change if Fields proves that he deserves to be the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh. So far, the athletic quarterback isn't receiving glowing endorsements.

Recently, Steelers Insider Ray Fittipaldo appeared on Press Coverage on SiriusXM Radio where he talked about the state of Pittsburgh's quarterback battle. Fittipaldo is not encouraged by Justin Fields' early performance.

"Fields, from what I've seen, they had a month of spring practices and he's a terrific athlete, but really the knocks against him that I heard coming in actually turned out to be true. He's not terribly accurate with the ball. His placement isn't all the great, and I could see them maybe having a package or two for him each week depending on the opponent, but I see this team as Russell Wilson's team."

Ray Fittipaldo, via SiriusXM NFL Radio

Fittipaldo noted the quarterback's terrific athletic traits but criticized his accuracy -- something that he has been an Achilles heel of Fields since entering the NFL as a former first-round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2021.

The report from Fittipaldo suggests that the concerns about Fields' accuracy are legitimate and that his ball placement is spotty. Because of this, Russell Wilson appears to be the starting quarterback.

Steelers must refine Justin Fields by the start of the season

This is hardly the first time we have heard about accuracy issues when it comes to Justin Fields. The former Ohio State quarterback wasn't required to be a pinpoint passer during his college days, and he was only generally accurate with the Bears over the past three seasons.

Unfortunately, this has led to a completion percentage of just 60.3 percent since entering the NFL (40 games). Though this number has risen each year in the league, the improvements have been minimal and his slightly improved completion percentage in 2023 (61.4 percent) came at the cost of a decline in yards per attempt (6.9).

The Steelers have a new quarterback coach in the building. Tom Arth spent the past two seasons working with Justin Herbert on the LA Chargers as a passing game specialist. During this time, the Chargers ranked 5th in passing offense and 11th in total offense.

Arth is early in his coaching career, but the young coach must work diligently with Fields to undo years of poor throwing mechanics. Without improvements to his technique, there's no reason to suddenly expect these issues to resolve themselves.

At nearly 6'3'' and 227 pounds with a terrific arm and unmatched athletic traits, Fields has all of the physical tools that a team could want in a quarterback. Unfortunately, it will all be for nothing if he can't improve as a passer.

Fields, 25, is a decade younger than Russell Wilson (who turns 36 during the 2024 season). If Wilson turns out to be a solid QB for the Steelers, it will only be a temporary fix. Justin Fields could be a long-term option, but his poor reviews early on are not a good sign that he will be Pittsburgh's future franchise quarterback.