NFC Notes: Bears, Justin Fields, Packers, Vikings


Former Bears QB Jay Cutler is hopeful that Justin Fields can be the “next big thing” for Chicago. 

“If the Bears start winning . . . I hope they do. And I hope Justin is successful, and I hope he’s the next big thing here and he’s the best quarterback to come out of Chicago Bears history,” said Cutler, via Jason Leiser of the Chicago Sun-Times. 

Cutler added that Fields has “all the tools” to succeed but the issue in Chicago is how frequently they change their coaching staff. 

“I like him . . . he’s got all the tools, but it’s the same problem the Bears have had for a long time: They’re turning over coaches and turning over OCs,” Cutler said. “It’s hard for a quarterback. You look across the league, and the guys that are really good at quarterback have the same coaches and same systems each year. This is like learning a different language. It’s like if I told you: ‘Hey, you’ve gotta learn Spanish this year, and next year learn Italian and the next year learn Chinese,’ it’s not gonna be easy.”

Cutler said he would accept an opportunity for a role on the Bears’ staff.

“But I spent the most time with the Bears, I was a Bears fan growing up, my kids love watching Chicago, so it’s one of those things that if the opportunity arises and it works, I’d definitely be down for it.”


Packers RBs coach Ben Sirmans thinks RB Patrick Taylor is showing an ability to play with more physicality and a sense of urgency going into next season. 

“That’s the biggest thing I saw that he does have the ability to play more physical, play with more urgency and play with more authority, and I think he’s going to piggyback on that going into this season,” Sirmans said, via PackersWire.

Sirmans thinks Taylor has a “better feel” for the NFL level after missing his entire rookie season in 2020 due to a foot injury.

“He looks like he’s moving around a lot better during OTAs and in Phase 2,” Sirmans said. “For him, just getting his feet wet last year, coming off the injuries from the first year, so I think he’s got a better feel for what’s going on, and that’s going to help him.”


Longtime NFL OL coach Mike Tice, who spent several years in that role and also as head coach with the Vikings, is a big fan of 2021 first-round LT Christian Darrisaw. He didn’t have a perfect rookie season, as there were flaws with his technique and he also showed examples of pre-draft criticisms that he didn’t always play through the whistle. But Tice points out he has special athleticism to be successful, the rest can be taught. 

“See, this is the best thing that he can do is he can change direction,” Tice said in a film review with the Athletic’s Ted Nguyen. “Look at the body posture. Look what he’s capable of. He wants to be a little more patient but he’s able to recover. That’s the one thing that you can’t teach — that’s something you were born with.”

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