NFC Notes: Justin Fields, Bears, Lions, Packers


Bears GM Ryan Poles opted to trade away the first overall pick and will instead focus on QB Justin Fields becoming the team’s franchise quarterback. Browns GM Andrew Berry weighed in on Poles’ decision to move the draft pick to Carolina.

“Anyone who’s in one of these major decision-making seats, at some point you’re going to have to make a franchise-altering or career-altering decision,” Berry said, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN. “It can be easy in these roles, especially because they’re so public-facing, to operate from a posture of being afraid to make a mistake, being afraid to make a bold move, or even from the perspective of pure job preservation. And when I see what Ryan did, I see someone who is doing what he thinks is in the best interest of the organization.”


One potential breakout player for the Lions to keep an eye on is DT Alim McNeill. He’s been a solid player his first two seasons but McNeill has designs on taking a huge step forward and being one of the dominant players at his position. 

“I had a couple games where I liked a couple things that I did or a coach might’ve liked it, but I just want to be more consistent,” McNeill said in April via the Athletic’s Colton Pouncy. “I want to make those plays almost every play. I’m seeing some guys around the league being able to do it and I’m just watching them and I’m like, ‘I can do the same thing.’ That’s what it was for me — just consistency. So, I just took a more professional approach to this offseason diet-wise and things I was doing.”

Due to those changes, McNeill showed up to OTAs noticeably leaner, which should help him be more explosive as Detroit looks to play him more at three-technique in 2023. There’s a long way to go still but McNeill has definitely put himself on the radar for the coaching staff. 

“He’s serious about football, man,” Lions DC Aaron Glenn said. “Like, this guy is serious about how he is going to go out there. He’s serious about how he wants to be perceived by everybody also. … This is a damn good player for us and we’re looking forward to seeing how he continues to improve.”


Packers HC Matt LaFleur has praise for second-year WR Samori Toure but thinks that he needs to work on his skills and become more consistent. 

“We’ve got to continue to build on those and become more and more consistent along the way, but he’s a guy we definitely have high hopes for,” LaFleur said, via “He has the things, the tools necessary, that you look for in terms of being able to separate. He has them in his body, he possesses those. It’s just continuing to get more and more reps.”

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