Quay Walker’s post-game comments on Justin Fields harkened back to a past Bears QB
The Bears just experienced one of the worst losses to Green Bay in recent memory. Entering week 18, the Bears had the chance to march into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers, spoiling their playoff hopes. That didn’t happen, instead, it looked as if the Bears never intended on winning. From horrible play-calling to poor O-line play and Justin Fields not playing his best game, everything in between, the Bears didn’t give Green Bay much of a challenge.
The Packers poured more salt in the wound with a post-game interview. Specifically, Packers linebacker Quay Walker’s presser provided a brutal reminder that things never seem to change here in Chicago.
Matt Schneidman of The Athletic quoted Quay Walker’s response when he was asked what the gameplan was for limiting Justin Fields on Sunday, this was his response:
“Whenever we can keep him in the pocket and allow him just to play quarterback and not allow him to run, we got a real, real good chance of winning the game.”
Walker’s response may strike a familiar cord with Bears fans, because Charles Woodson said nearly the same thing over 12 years ago.
The first quote came after the Packers 23-10 win over the Bears on September 13, 2012. Then-Packers corner Charles Woodson commented on why Green Bay was never concerned with the Bears’ recent receiving acquisitions ahead of their game. The primary reason? The Bears quarterback:
“Heard some talk out of the Bears: Packers secondary not working coverage, bigger receivers … we heard about it,” Woodson said. “We understand that Jay is excited about his new weapons, but it’s the same-old Jay. We don’t need luck; Jay will throw us the ball.”
What is old has become new again
The Bears have been stuck in the same loop of events for the past 30 or so years. Drafting a QB who shows promise only for him to never take that final step and prove he is the long term answer. The team around him vastly improves and he still can’t become the guy and lead the team to wins. Then the coaches and GM get fired and the new hires want their guy. Repeating the cycle over and over again.
The similarities between the quotes from past and present Packers defensive players is damning. And it isn’t just burn or a roast targeted towards a rival, its a spoken embodiment of the two franchises.
The Bears are stuck repeating the same mistakes over and over again, while the Packers are having the same successes. The Bears once again enter the offseason with a question mark at the QB position, whereas Green Bay seems to have found another franchise QB.
Green Bay is able to find franchise QB after franchise QB because they enact and practice patience. Aaron Rodgers and now Jordan Love, both sat on the bench for 3 years behind future hall-of-fame quarterbacks. Which provided them plenty of time to learn an NFL offense while retaining their confidence and not putting their teams success squarely on their shoulders.
There was absolutely no pressure in either situation. The Packers only started Rodgers and Love when they were both ready, and it has worked wonders for them. As much as it sucks to say, the Packers are the prime example of how to draft and mold a QB into a successful product.
Another great example of patience paying off is New England and Tom Brady. Brady sat on the bench, but only for one year. That may have had a big impact turning Brady from a raw prospect to a hall-of-famer.
What the Bears could learn from Jordan Love, Walker and Woodson
Thrusting a rookie QB straight into the fire may work sometimes. A great example of that just happened this season with Texans rookie CJ Stroud. Stroud came into a rebuilding Texans team that had zero expectations at the start of the season. The team was supposed to be bad and contending for a top 5 pick. Instead Stroud has thrived, recording a fantastic rookie season and leading the Texans to a playoff spot.
The Bears don’t have an MVP or future hall-of-famer at QB right now, but keeping Justin Fields and drafting a rookie QB is an option. Whether it be Drake Maye, Caleb Williams or another QB, if the Bears draft one, not playing him right away might be the best.
The Bears haven’t had success immediately starting rookie QBs, that could be due in part to the lack of consistency within the Bears organization. Justin Fields has been under two head coaches and two different offensive schemes. That isn’t a winning formula for any QB, especially a young one. Frequent coaching changes force a QB to constantly learn new, offenses, schemes and signals. If they Bears want to finally find that franchise QB, the Bears need to get the staff in line first, otherwise the cycle could continue.
Justin Fields development was completely mismanaged. Fields has improved but he has also shown more of the same as far as fumbles and holding the ball too long. Justin Fields has been the ultimate team player and a great locker room presence. But has he done enough to warrant the Bears keeping him and passing on a QB in such a deep QB draft? Only Kevin Warren and Ryan Poles can answer that question, and their answer will come in April.
Ryan Poles and the Bears are in a very unique spot heading into the 2024 NFL draft. The Bears have the chance to start over by picking a QB and hiring a new head coach, or continue to put pieces around Justin Fields. The Bears have two picks in the top 10, that is an extremely valuable place to be in, this upcoming draft could completely change the outlook of the franchise.
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