Justin Fields hasn’t done enough to climb Chris Simms’ annual quarterback rankings. Simms announced his numbers 20 to 24 QB in the NFL on Wednesday, and Fields came in at No. 23, exactly where he was last year.
“I can’t believe it yet,” Simms said on his podcast, “Chris Simms Unbuttoned,” to explain the ranking. “I need to see a bit more before I’m ready to say he’s going to take over the world or do something special.
“Throwing is a collection of big plays with no consistency. In fact, his quarterback game is that. This is where he is 23 for me.
Simms conceded that Fields is a “crazy” playmaker when rushing the ball, and noted his penchant for setting up some of the game’s most exciting highlights. But for Simms, those big plays are empty calories.
“When you put him up there with some of the best running backs and receivers in football, it’s as dangerous as some of those guys out in the field.
“You walk into it, and you see this, and you start going, ‘It’s great when you see it on ESPN or NBC Sports Highlights. Yeah, that’s cool to watch. But then you start breaking down the game and you’re like, “Oh man, he missed that pitch” or “He should have pitched it, but he didn’t pitch it.”
Simms also went into great detail about how he doesn’t like Fields’ “elbow” throwing mechanics, as he has many times in the past. We don’t need to rehash it here, since Simms has constantly criticized Fields’ mechanics since he was Fields ranked the quarterback No. 4 in the 2021 draft behind Kellen Mond (who was dropped by the Vikings after his rookie year) (and yes, he had Zach Wilson ranked No. 1).
Either way, Fields’ supreme running talent should probably elevate him to 20, above guys like Jimmy Garoppolo and Mac Jones, who are placed ahead of him.
Fields is part of Simms’ “S–t or get off the pot” group of quarterbacks, along with Baker Mayfield (#24), Garoppolo (#22), Tua Tagovailoa (#21) and Jones (#20) . That is to say, Fields is among the players who need to show what they have this year, in the eyes of Simms.
It’s not completely unfair. Last season, the Bears were candid in saying they had an incomplete rating on Fields’ year because he often ran for his life behind a leaky offensive line and didn’t have much help from players. skillful around him. The Bears have injected talent on offense, however, with big additions like new No. 1 WR DJ Moore, first draft pick Darnell Wright and free agent signee Nate Davis.
It’s also no secret that Fields has room to grow. The Bears worked on his footwork to try to improve his accuracy in the short game. It’s Fields’ goal to progress faster this year as well. Improvements in these two areas would go a long way in transforming Fields from an exciting playmaker with high potential into a top QB.
What’s a bit unfair is that Simms suggested that Fields wasn’t confident in his ability to throw accurate balls, that the Bears didn’t trust him, and that he wasn’t as good a leader as some of his peers.
“He doesn’t want to throw it because he doesn’t know where it’s going to go,” Simms said.
A lot has been said about Fields, but this is new. One can criticize his treatment, or fail to recognize receivers who are “NFL open” versus open in the college game, but you can’t find anyone in the Bears locker room more confident than Fields. He doesn’t believe he can be awesome, he knows he can be awesome, and he instills that belief in others.
If you’re crazy about the rankings, consider this: Last year, Simms had Wilson ranked No. 22 and Jalen Hurts ranked No. 25. Obviously, each of them was completely irrelevant as Wilson fell flat like the one of the league’s worst QBs, and an even worse leader. Sure, Hurts became one of the best in his incredible campaign leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl.
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