How close is Justin Fields to breaking the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback?
With 905 yards rushing entering Week 15, Justin Fields would have to average 75.3 yards over the Bears' last four games to break the record of 1,206 yards that the Ravens' Lamar Jackson set in 2019. Fields' total is already the sixth most by an NFL quarterback. He's also chasing the Falcons' Michael Vick (1,039 in 2006), Jackson (1,005 in 2020), the Bears' Bobby Douglass (968 in 1972) and the Eagles' Randall Cunningham (942 in 1990).
Fields told reporters Thursday that it would mean a lot for him to join Jackson and Vick as the only quarterbacks to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, saying: "That would be crazy with Michael Vick. Me growing up in Atlanta, I remember I was eight, nine years old, I had his cleats. So that would just be crazy kind of just full circle. I mean, it would be awesome. And Lamar, everybody knows he's a great quarterback, a dynamic playmaker. Having my name with those two guys would be great, for sure."
Fields, who rushed for 1,133 yards in 34 college games over three seasons at Georgia (2018) and Ohio State (2019-20), didn't enter the year expecting to have a chance to set the NFL record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback. "I really wasn't even this good of a rusher in college," he said. "I didn't run this much in college. This rushing thing just kind of picked up this year. But it's definitely awesome. It's an honor, for sure, and I'm excited to be able to hopefully reach that goal."
Do you think the Bears will give Teven Jenkins a chance to get some reps at tackle over the final few games of the season?
It doesn't sound that there are any plans to kick Teven Jenkins back out to tackle down the stretch, at least based on what offensive coordinator Luke Getsy had to say during his weekly press conference Thursday. The Bears seem to be very pleased with how the second-year pro has developed since moving to right guard this season, and I expect him to remain in that spot. Here's what Getsy said about the possibility: "I think he's a guy who could do it. But I think what's most important is he continues to grow at what he's at. I think moving inside this year has given him an opportunity to kind of find himself, and I think he has. He's done a really nice job owning that role. I think he has an opportunity to be a really good guy on the inside. I don't think there's any necessarily interest to try to move him somewhere else, but I think he's capable of doing that."
I know that Velus Jones Jr. muffed a couple punts earlier in the season, but do you think the Bears will put him back out there to see what he can do?
I know a lot of fans and media are looking at the final few games of the season as a precursor to the 2023 preseason, but I can assure you that the coaching staff does not feel that way. They're intent on putting the best players in every role and not experimenting, so I expect that Dante Pettis will continue returning punts. Here's what special teams coordinator Richard Hightower said when asked about Velus Jones Jr. returning punts again this season: "We're just worried about Sunday right now. I'm not really diving too much into the future. We're going to put the best guy back there on punt return, and right now that's been Dante. He's averaging I think 9.2 someone told me a day or two ago. It's been really good since the mini-bye with Dante back there. He's been doing an outstanding job. He's had an explosive or two. He had an 18-yard return last game as well. So he's doing a great job attacking the football, and he's earned that spot right now."