Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields had a breakout season in 2022. He proved he’s one of the NFL’s most dynamic playmakers at the position after nearly breaking the single-season quarterback rushing record. And while his passing stats will draw criticism from his detractors, the end result of his second year in the league was a resounding success.
And that’s why it’s surprising to see how low he was in Pro Football Network’s ranking of all 32 starting quarterbacks.
Fields checked in at No. 18 and among the ‘useful but limited’ quarterbacks in PFN’s breakdown.
“After a resurgent middle of the season, Fields came back down to Earth in the final games of the year,” PFN’s Arif Hasan wrote. “But the potential he showed is worth investing in, and he can cause some damage. He’ll need to mature his passing game, but with his ability to run, there will always be a floor.”
Justin Fields must silence critics in 2023
Sure, Fields needs to develop as a passer. He finished 2022 with 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Certainly not great numbers. But context is required.
Justin Fields played behind a makeshift offensive line and was throwing to a collection of wide receivers that, at one point in the season, included Dante Pettis as his No. 1 target. Yikes.
The Chicago Bears will make a concerted effort at improving both the offensive line and wide receiver corps in free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft. And when they do, the excuses for Fields will no longer exist. He’ll have to make as many plays with his arm as he’s proven he can with his legs.
Call it a hunch, but I think Fields will be ranked much higher on lists like these next year this time.