I was going to ignore Chris Simms’ annual quarterback rankings this year, but after seeing where he placed Justin Fields (and knowing no amount of ignoring him will make him stop his nonsense), I couldn’t help myself.
Last year, Simms ranked Justin Fields 23rd among NFL starting quarterbacks. I disagreed with it then, but from an outsider’s perspective, I could see why he might be that low after an underwhelming rookie season.
Simms published his 2023 quarterback rankings this week, and naturally, I assumed Fields would climb his list.
Simms ranked Fields in the exact same spot: 23rd overall.
“I can’t buy into it yet,” Simms said on his podcast. “I need to see a little bit more before I’m ready to say he’ll take over the world or do anything special.”
Excuse me? Breaking multiple quarterback records last year doesn’t count as ‘anything special’? Isn’t having cleats in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after just a year and a half in the league special?
Look, I understand that Fields is a quarterback and that until the majority of his stats come from the passing game, people will continue to doubt him. But I don’t understand how so many analysts dismiss his rushing ability like it’s meaningless. The yards he picks up and the touchdowns he scores running the ball still count!
It’s even crazier when you realize Fields was not a big runner in college. He was a pocket passer with mobility. He ran so much last year, not because that’s his style, but because he had no choice. If he can smash quarterback rushing records on a whim, imagine what he can do when the passing game comes together. The sky is quite literally the limit for a quarterback who can run like Michael Vick or Lamar Jackson and still has the throwing potential that Fields has flashed many times in his first two years.
Simms continued his bizarre vendetta against Fields’ throwing motion and mechanics, but that’s not even worth getting into. His throwing motion is fine and his footwork is improving. Besides, this criticism is much ado about nothing. Philip Rivers had a phenomenal career and threw the ball with an extreme side-arm motion.
After a season in which Justin Fields set multiple NFL records for quarterback rushing and flashed his passing potential, leaving him in the same spot as last year on quarterback rankings makes no sense. To imply that he hasn’t improved at all is simply untrue. You don’t have to have him in your Top 10, but I don’t think it’s asking too much to place Fields just inside the top half of quarterbacks, especially considering the upgraded roster around him.