As Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields was struggling through his debut as an NFL starter against the Browns last Sept. 26, his father, Pablo, went to a concessions stand in Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium.

A self-proclaimed "nervous wreck" during Justin's games, Pablo won't sit with anyone but his wife, JoAnn, during games, and he doesn't wear a "Fields" jersey because he doesn't want those conversations. But on this day, it was unavoidable as he stood in line.

"I guess Fields wasn't ready," a fan said to Pablo, unaware he was speaking to the QB's father.

Pablo, a retired Atlanta police officer of 30 years, didn't need confirmation things weren't going well. Justin was sacked nine times in a 26-6 loss.

"When you're in that storm, you hate it as a parent," Pablo said. "You hate it for your kid, but I've always seen them coming out stronger on the other side."

The storm raged throughout Fields' rookie season. Out of 31 qualifiers, he ranked last in QBR at 26.4, and he was sacked 36 times in 11 games, the highest rate in the NFL. The Bears finished 6-11 and fired head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace.

The Bears aren't expected to improve much this season -- their over-under is six wins -- but those close to Fields are optimistic he will take the next step in his development. They've seen him persevere through struggles in high school and college, and they've seen the work he has put in this offseason.

For Fields, it's about embracing the process of improving, instead of trying to forget what happened last season.

"When you've been doing something so long, you start to love it more and more," Fields said. "And I love the failure that comes with it. I love everything that comes with it, because I know that at the end of the day, that as long as I give my best, and I know what I can do, I know that once we reach our full potential, what we'll be able to do."

It didn't take long for the 23-year-old to clarify his remark.

"Yeah, we need to roll that back," Fields said with a laugh. "I don't love failing, but you just have to be able to know how to bounce back, know how to get back in that mindset and get back rolling."