ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The biggest key for the Chicago Bears this summer and this coming season will be the continued development of Justin Fields. One key to that will be the guys up front on the offensive line, like Braxton Jones.

Jones is slotted in as the starting left tackle again. He grabbed that starting job as a rookie last summer surprising a lot of people considering he wasn’t drafted until the fifth round.

I caught up with Jones Saturday while he was in Rockford for the Rockford Park District’s youth football camp. Jones told me he’s expecting to make a big step forward in his second year.

“I feel like I have a better understanding of what I was kind of doing wrong (last year), and you know where I was wrong most of the time. It’s like, sometimes it can be like just a sliver (of improvement), but in the game of football that’s what it is. It’s all about the minute and little details. Understanding those details and processing them way faster is super important.”

Bears fans are fired up about the upcoming season despite the fact the team is coming off only a three-win season in 2022. Jones says the players can sense that positive vibe and they share it.

“Oh, 100%. I think everybody in the building is being super optimistic about the season. We just have a a different feeling in the locker room.”

Jones says a big part of that optimism centers on Justin Fields, what he brings to the offense and his upside. If the offensive line can give him a little more time, Fields could become even more of a threat.

“Oh, yeah. I think a big thing for him is just getting him a little bit more time, a little bit more protection. I think even for me, a big part of that is giving him just the slightest bit more time, and he’ll just make anything with it. You know, he’s a playmaker.”

Jones and the rest of the Bears reported Monday to Halas Hall for a week of OTAs.