Welcome to the first of our 12-part series as we get you ready for Bears Training Camp 2022 by looking at each position group on the depth chart, special teams and the new coaching staff.
We’ll bring you brief scouting reports with pluses and minuses for every notable player, how each group stacks up against the rest of the NFL, project potential surprises and disappointments, the final 53-man roster and likely practice squad keepers.
Part 1 – Quarterbacks
Clearly this group will sink or swim on the arm, legs and head of Justin Fields.
The new regime decided to swap veteran talent, experience and mentorship in saying goodbye to Andy Dalton and Nick Foles and bring in Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman, younger athletes to fit Luke Getsy’s new offense, but whose jobs will it be to be cheerleaders rather than competitors and tutors.
Fields has everything you look for in an elite quarterback in the mold of a Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray, but with better arm talent. Fields has similar running skills with exceptional speed for a man his size and quickly emerging leadership abilities.
He was the 11th overall pick in the draft while pretty clearly the second best prospect after Trevor Lawrence because of his elongated delivery and questions about his ability to read defenses, process the information and get the ball out quickly enough to the right receiver and spot.
The delivery appears to have been fixed but the other concerns remain in large part because he was put on the field way too soon, tried to run a system that lacked consistency – and at times logic – and got little to no help from his receivers and offensive line.
Biggest plus: Talent
Biggest concern: Does he have the intuitive feel for the position only the great ones have? And his supporting cast this year probably won’t be as talented as the failed group last year.
Siemian was a good but not special prospect out of Northwestern and the 250th player chosen in the 2015 draft.
He is a similar body type to Fields, but that’s where the similarities end. He does have decent mobility and arm strength.
Siemian did stack 8-6 and 5-5 seasons as a starter in Denver in 2016 and 2017, the only years in which he’s seen significant playing time, but he matched 30 TDs with 24 picks over those two seasons.
Biggest plus: Siemian is a team-first guy that knows his role, will support Fields every way he can, and he will manage Getsy’s scheme effectively if asked/forced to step in under center.
Biggest concern: Fields will win plays and even a few games regardless of who’s around him. Dalton and Foles could too, but Siemian won’t.
Interestingly, Peterman was the fifth highest rated QB by NFL.com in 2017 behind Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshone Kizer and given the same 6.30 grade as Mahomes and Kizer.
He is slightly shorter and heavier than Fields and Siemian, is not a particularly impressive athlete and rated more as a pro-style passer than a fit for Getsy’s scheme.
Biggest plus: His NFL-style arm.
Biggest concern: That he has to start games.
Where they hit in NFL: This is all about Fields, and it’s impossible to say right now.
If Fields takes big strides forward, he can be as good as any QB in the league. Physically he has All-Pro talent.
But if Fields struggles, this could be the worst group in the league.
Potential: Fields shows off his All Pro traits.
Surprises: It will be very surprising if Fields doesn’t take significant strides forward. He may or may not have the God-given feel for the position to become elite, but he has too much talent not to get better.
Disappointments: The lack of weapons and talent around Fields could doom him to another painful and wasted season, forcing the Bears to make an early and difficult decision on Fields with a Top 5 pick in a QB rich 2023 draft.
Outcome: These are the Bears three quarterbacks; the only question is whether Peterman spends the season on the practice squad or the 53-man roster.