Discover more from Sideline Scoop
Justin Fields: It’s Now Or Never
PLUS: ESPN Layoffs, Hanging Out With Gorillas
Sideline Scoop is a daily NFL Newsletter giving you the newest headlines and exclusive insights every weekday morning.
The Chicago Bears haven’t won a playoff game since 2010. But things may be turning around. Bears second year GM Ryan Poles has made necessary moves this off-season that should lead to a much improved Bears team in 2023.
Oftentimes a team's success comes down to quarterback play. Sure you have teams like the 49ers that are able to make magic out average QBs like Jimmy Garappolo, but more times than not you need A GUY. The question for the Bears this season is, can Justin Fields be that guy?
He’s now entering his 3rd season. His first two years were nothing to write home about – he’s been one of the worst passers in the league. But to Fields' defense, before this off-season the Bears hadn’t surrounded him with top tier talent. His offensive line was abysmal. He had no time to throw the ball, and even when he did, he had no one to throw it too.
This off-season the Bears knew that they needed to surround Fields with talent. That’s why they traded the coveted #1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Carolina Panthers and in return acquired wide receiver DJ Moore, as well as 4 other picks. That’s the move that could change Fields’ career trajectory. Now he has no excuse. He has a legit #1 wide receiver.
But that’s not the only weakness they shored up on offense. They signed former Packers tight end Robert Tonyan. He’s not elite, but he’s serviceable. They used the #10 pick in the draft to select right tackle Darnell Wright. They signed offensive guard Nate Davis to a 3 year $30 million deal.
So all in all Fields has an improved offensive line and an improved receiver core. If Fields doesn’t take a step forward as a passer, the Bears have a problem on their hands.
There’s no doubt that Fields is one of the best running QBs in the league. He showed that last year, nearly breaking the single season QB rushing record finishing the year with 1,143 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns.
But only being dominant in the run game is not going to cut it. If that by itself led to wins, that’s one thing. But clearly it wasn’t. The Bears won 3 games last season. They were the worst team in the entire NFL. Now Fields has no excuses. If Fields doesn’t take a step forward in 2023 it will be clear that Justin Fields is the problem.
If the Bears don’t win more than 5 or 6 games in 2023 there’s a good chance the Bears move on from Fields. The front office has no time to waste. If after a second year under new management the Bears continue to struggle, they’ll have an urgency to turn things around in 2024 or they themselves will be sent packing.
The Bears had the opportunity this off-season to draft either Bryce Young or CJ Stroud before they traded away the #1 pick. They weren’t ready to give up on Fields just yet.
Because of the Bears trade with Carolina, they now have two first round picks in 2024. They could easily use those picks to move up and take one of the top QBs in the 2024 draft . That would buy GM Ryan Poles a couple more years if Fields isn’t the answer. 2023 is a make-or-break year for Justin Fields.
News Around The NFL
As I mentioned a few days back, we are in that time of the year where NFL news is few and far between. There are things to talk about here and there, but until training camp starts this section will likely be less packed for the time being. But don’t worry, I’ll other things I’d like to talk about.
Josh Allen on Facing Rodgers Twice Per Year
Allen spoke with Kevin Clark of “Slow News Day” and had this to say,
““I’ve been such a fan of him as little kid. Having Aaron Rodgers jerseys and trying to emulate what he does on the football field. He’s such a special player. I think he’s the most gifted thrower of the football of all time. To now be going up against him twice a year, it’s going to be a battle.”
Josh Allen Vs Aaron Rodgers is much watch football. That’s one positive of Rodgers joining the AFC East. We’ll get to see that match up at least twice this year, and twice next year if Rodgers doesn’t retire.
I don’t watch ESPN as much as I used to. When I was a kid I would sit in front of the TV for hours during the summer watching SportsCenter. Now it’s something I rarely do.
Back in late April ESPN started laying off employees working behind the scenes. And now it looks like more layoffs are coming soon per the New York Post.
“ESPN is scrapping its national morning radio show featuring Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Max Kellerman, The Post has learned. The move is part of the restructuring of the company, which will include significant on-air layoffs to come as early as next week, according to sources.”
From time to time I turned on ESPN’s morning show with Keysharn, JWill, and Max. Apparently not enough people did. It’s interesting to watch how ESPN talent fluctuates.
I remember back when Skip Bayless left First take with Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman was selected as his replacement. They never reached the level of Stephen A. and Skip, but they weren’t bad together.
Ever since I started making youtube videos on the Packers three years back I became captivated by the sports media landscape. I found it fascinating that guys like Colin Cowherd were bringing in millions and millions of dollars every single year.
Colin Cowherd’s greatness comes from his ability to story tell and draw up metaphors between sports and life. There’s no one better. You may disagree with lots of what he has to say, but he captivates an audience. Guys like that aren’t getting their shows taken off air. They’ve created audiences that are loyal. People who will never leave.
Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Other News Around The NFL
Tyreek Hill still under investigation
Former Giants Toney calls out “Everyone In New York”
Former Steeler Clark Haggans dies at 46
Random Stat Of The Day
The Dallas Cowboys have the highest point differential in Super Bowl history with +89 in a total of 8 super bowls going 5-3.
Random Question Of The Day
“What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?”
One time I hung out with a family of gorillas in Africa for about an hour. That was pretty crazy.
Here’s a picture of me and a gorilla.
That’s all for today! If you enjoyed today’s newsletter I would love it if you sent it to a friend. My goal is to keep growing and if you have someone you think could enjoy this, feel free to send it their way.