Reviewing the Roster Around Justin Fields

| December 4th, 2023

Football happened yesterday! And just in case you didn’t check yesterday’s scores, let me give you the highlights of what mattered for the Bears:

  • The New England Patriots couldn’t score 7 points on the Chargers and thus fell at home, leaving them at #2 in the draft order.
    • The Patriots’ offense is BAD — their passing offense displays all the hallmarks of dysfunctional offense (OL protection issues, a QB that holds the ball too long, and WRs that can’t catch the opportunities delivered to them), their rushing offense is awful, and now that Bailey Zappe has officially taken over for Mac Jones it’s hard to imagine the Patriots finding a spark to rally around. Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien is likely out of motivational tricks, but with a winnable Thursday Night game in Pittsburgh on the horizon I hope he and Belichick can find some Patriot Magic on the short week.
  • The Arizona Cardinals topped the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road, moving to 3-10 on the season and all-but excusing themselves from the race for a Top 2 pick.
    • Kyler Murray and former 2nd round pick Trey McBride make a dynamic combination and the two stuck it to Pittsburgh to the tune of 89 yards & a score on 8 catches (9 targets). Arizona’s defense didn’t win their side of the ball so much as Pittsburgh lost it, but Zona’s offense didn’t let bad weather slow them down as they piled up a 17-3 lead and watched Pittsburgh squirm. Will Arizona win a game outside of their Christmas Eve tilt in Chicago? If they plan to try, they’ll need Kyler Murray to keep playing like he did at times today. He was fun to watch.
  • The Carolina Panthers lost on the road to a struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, falling to 1-11 in a game I’m sure they’d like to have back.
    • This was a pivotal game for Carolina — most teams rebound when their coach gets fired mid-season, but with this loss the Panthers are officially eliminated from playoff contention. With a trip to the Superdome looming, how does this team keep their head against a string of opponents fighting for playoff spots?

Why do these scores matter? Simple: Arizona’s win & Carolina’s loss all but guarantee the Bears will receive a Top 2 pick in the 2024 Draft Class. Seth Walder confirms that notion below with ESPN Analytics:

If you’re a frustrated Bears fan looking for hope in the midst of a frustrating season, a Top 2 pick in this draft class represents just that.

It’s not that the Bears have to move on from Justin Fields, but having the option to do so without feeling the pressure to settle (EX: The Giants & Daniel Jones) is a luxury most NFL teams simply cannot afford. As I discussed in a column last week, a Top 2 pick is an objective good for the Chicago Bears — between sticking with Fields & drafting a rookie, there’s no “wrong” option.

That said, maybe you’ve heard all this talk of drafting a QB and want to know more about who these players are — I’ll be streaming a draft breakdown this evening of both major QBs in an attempt to pull back the curtain on Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. Join me at 8PM CST and let’s get to know the good, the bad, and the ugly of these kids’ games.


Nick and I recorded a podcast where we talked through the roster around Justin Fields with a fine-toothed comb — How much of this team will remain in 2024? Who’s playing well? Who’s struggling? Where should Chicago look to upgrade in the offseason? Check it out here:

Your Turn: How do you feel about Chicago’s roster as things currently stand?

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