NFC Notes: Justin Fields, Bears, Lions, Packers


The Bears have found a winning formula by leaning on QB Justin Fields‘ incredible athleticism and lessening how much they have to lean on the passing game as a whole, including Fields, the protection and the receivers. That’s fine for now but Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner questions how sustainable it is, a point that’s even more stark given Fields’ shoulder injury in Week 11. 

“Incredible talent,” Warner said via the Athletic’s Mike Jones. “He’s making some incredible plays in the last few weeks, but they’re with his legs, and not so much with his arm. I understand that him making those plays in the run game helps him in the passing game, because that means the defenses are so worried about him running, and that lends itself to some openings in the pass game. But there’s so much more to the passing aspect of the game that he needs to work on. I don’t know if you can survive depending on him making these special plays every single week.”

  • Bears HC Matt Eberflus said Fields “remains day-to-day” but was cleared to practice on Wednesday.  (Kevin Fishbain)
  • Fields explained that he suffered a separated shoulder with partially torn ligaments: “It’s a separated shoulder with a partially torn ligament, basically an AC joint.” (Fishbain)
  • Bears second-round CB Kyler Gordon, second-round S Jaquan Brisker and LB Sterling Weatherford are all in the league’s concussion protocol. (Fishbain)
  • The Bears brought in DB Breon Borders and RB Clint Ratkovich for workouts on Tuesday. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Of the two, Chicago signed Borders to their practice squad.


Lions RB Jamaal Williams isn’t the fastest or the most dynamic running back, not even on his own team. But he’s Detroit’s leading rusher and he leads the entire NFL in touchdowns with 13 so far this season. He’s making a strong case to be brought back this offseason after his contract expires, as he personifies everything HC Dan Campbell is trying to build in Detroit. 

“His production speaks for itself and everything that you see and know about him is exactly who he is,” Campbell said via the Athletic’s Colton Pouncy. “He’s all heart. He’s emotion, his heart and he just is a steady, productive, hard-running, hard-working, smart football player. … If you just listed your most consistent players, most dependable, consistent players, he would definitely be at the top of that list.”

  • ESPN’s Dan Graziano writes Lions OC Ben Johnson is expected to draw interest for head coaching interviews in the upcoming coaching cycle. 
  • Lions WR DJ Chark (ankle) is expected to have more playing time in Week 12’s Thanksgiving game after being eased back in his first game returning from injury. (Kyle Meinke


  • The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman is skeptical that Packers QB Jordan Love will ever start a game for Green Bay again barring a serious injury to Aaron Rodgers. He’s doubtful the team will sit Rodgers for Love even if they’re eliminated from the playoffs and doesn’t think Rodgers will retire this offseason. 
  • Schneidman also writes he has doubts the Packers fire DC Joe Barry during the season, but all bets are off after Week 18 given how that side of the ball has underperformed. 
  • Packers HC Matt LaFleur said Rodgers (thumb) practiced on Wednesday and is hopeful that the time off from last Thursday’s Week 11 game has helped the healing process. (Rob Demovsky)
  • On Thursday, LaFleur says there wasn’t any consideration of resting Rodgers after learning he had broken his thumb: “He’s played through a lot worse. He’s old-school tough.” (Ryan Wood)
  • LaFleur added he’s not optimistic about fourth-round WR Romeo Doubs (ankle) availability: “I’m not ready to bank on that yet.”
  • LaFleur said LB De’Vondre Campbell (knee) was unlikely to practice on Wednesday. (Tom Silverstein)
  • Regarding new Packers OLB Justin Hollins, LaFleur noted his familiarity with Barry was a big selling point: “He’s a big guy that runs really well.” (Demovsky)

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