Bears might have the best QB in the NFC North next season
Brad Rempel - USA Today Sports

Bears might have the best QB in the NFC North next season

by - Correspondent -

Looking forward to the 2023 season, the Bears might just be able to say that they have the best quarterback in their division. Justin Fields is the only one in the division with the additional threat of running the ball, and although we shouldn’t routinely expect over 1,000 rushing yards from Fields, he has still proven that he has an elite ability that is becoming increasingly more valuable in the NFL.

Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

While the Bears’ record may not show it, Fields had a rather good season last year. He carried the team and led all NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards, as well as leading the NFL in yards per attempt with 7.1. He had so much success in the run game that he actually finished ninth this season in the MVP voting, making him the only quarterback in the division to receive any votes for the MVP this season. Fields is the first player for Chicago to get a share of the MVP voting since linebacker Brian Urlacher back in 2001 and the first quarterback for the Bears to receive a share of the MVP vote since Sid Luckman won the Joe F. Carr Trophy back in 1943, which was the NFL’s version of the MVP during that period. A player for the Bears has not won the award since running back Walter Payton did in 1977. All in all, this shows that Fields’s rushing ability is gaining respect throughout the league at a pace the Bears have never seen with a quarterback. If he had a Pro-Bowl-caliber receiver like some of the other quarterbacks in this division, as well as a decent offensive line, Fields could develop even further into an elite NFL quarterback.

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

First, let’s look at the division champions - the Minnesota Vikings. Ironically, he was born in Illinois and went to college in Michigan, so he is really familiar with the midwest. Before coming to the Vikings in 2018, he spent his first six seasons with Washington; he made it to one Pro Bowl in 2016. Since coming to Minnesota, he has gone to three Pro Bowls, including going to the Pro Bowl this season. Obviously, he led the NFL in comebacks this season with eight. However, none of his other stats really jumped off the page this season. He did have 4,547 passing yards, but he has Justin Jefferson who won Offensive Player of the Year as well as finishing in fifth this season for the MVP, so that may make Cousins look better than he actually is. Looking at his rushing ability, he had a whole 97 rushing yards this season. While Minnesota is undeniably a really talented team, that seems more due to the talent around Cousins rather than from Cousins himself.

Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Next, the wonderful quarterback who helped make sure the Green Bay Packers did not make the playoffs was Jared Goff. Goff spent his first five seasons with the Rams before being part of the blockbuster trade that sent Matthew Stafford to Los Angeles. Now in his second season in Detroit, Goff definitely improved, particularly in the second half of the season, to keep the Lions in playoff contention and quite nearly get them into the seventh seed. This success was reflected in the fact that he was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time since Los Angeles’ Super Bowl trip in the 2018 season. Further, Goff was sixth in voting this year for the Comeback Player of the Year. Pro Bowl receiver, Amon-Ra St. Brown has definitely helped Goff grow as a quarterback and find success in Detroit. But, like Cousins, he does not have the rushing ability like Fields does. In fact, Goff had fewer rushing yards than Cousins this past season, with only 73. For some perspective, Fields averaged 76.2 rushing yards per game.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

So, Davante Adams goes to the Raiders, and all of the sudden, the Packers do not have a successful passing game. For the first time, Rodgers did not have a receiver like Jordy Nelson or Adams to rely on, and his stats this season showed it, to the delight of Bears’ fans. This is the first season where Rodgers played in all of the games and did not make the Pro Bowl, so he clearly is not as talented as he was. And the state of Wisconsin knows it. As reported by Madison Williams for Sports Illustrated, the most jerseys sold in 2022 was not Aaron Rodgers; it was not even a player on the Packers or any other Wisconsin team.

The most jerseys sold in 2022 in Wisconsin were for Justin Fields, showing how much the people of Wisconsin love a quarterback who can run the ball. Rodgers has never had more than 400 rushing yards in a season; Fields led all quarterbacks in rushing with 1,143 rushing yards. Some more irony - Rodgers is generally known for not throwing a lot of interceptions, but this season, he threw 12. Fields only threw 11. Further, a larger percentage of Justin Fields’s throws (5.3%) were touchdowns compared to Rodgers (4.8%). Is Fields better than Rodgers, comparing their career statistics? No. But, comparing last season, Fields had a better season in many respects than Aaron Rodgers had. So, going into the 2023 season, if Rodgers is, in fact the quarterback, Fields is growing as a player while Rodgers is not clearly not in the prime of his career. If Rodgers is not the quarterback, then Jordan Love would seemingly be the next quarterback for Green Bay. Love has barely any experience, so Fields would clearly have the edge over him as well.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Ariana Pensy: Email | Comment
Post your comments!