Who will step up to be the Chicago Bears MVP outside of Justin Fields?
The Chicago Bears come into the 2022 season without many elite players on the roster. A lot of young or overlooked players will need to step up for the Bears to be competitive this season. One national analyst projected a Bears wide receiver as the teams non-quarterback most valuable player.
Second-year quarterback Justin Fields is the obvious MVP projection for the Bears. Other than Fields, there are a few important players like linebacker Roquan Smith, linebacker Robert Quinn, wide receiver Darnell Mooney and name your preferred running back David Montgomery or Khalil Herbert.
Kevin Patra, writing for NFL.com, put together a list of each team’s non-QB MVP. Patra thinks Darnell Mooney will have the best chance to be the Chicago Bears’ best player outside of Fields this season. Here’s what Patra wrote:
Mooney is in line to see a heap of targets come his way following a breakout Year 2 after the Bears did little to buffer the burgeoning receiver this offseason. Mooney led the Bears with 81 catches, 1,055 receiving yards and four TD grabs in 2021 — and 523 of Justin Fields‘ 1,870 pass yards were to Mooney (28.0%).
Mooney displayed the ability to stretch the field, portending a good rapport with Fields’ big-arm capabilities. The Fields-Mooney combo finished the season with an average of 13.4 air yards per attempt, 11th-most among all QB-WR duos, per Next Gen Stats, and just a tick ahead of Russell Wilson–DK Metcalf.
With Fields the surefire starter entering Year 2, the Bears are counting on Mooney to reach new heights for the offense to flourish under coordinator Luke Getsy. Everything suggests he’s ready to meet that challenge.
Mooney is probably the easy choice for the Chicago Bears
Mooney had an incredible season for the Chicago Bears in 2021. In his second season in the NFL, Mooney grabbed a lot of balls for the Bears. His receptions averaged 13 yards. Mooney’s one flaw is that he didn’t find the endzone much.
Fields’ second year will likely include more comfort with Mooney. Those numbers should continue to trend northward in 2022. But if Fields and Mooney have success this season, it will likely be due to another important player for the Bears.
Bears’ non-QB MVP will be found on the offensive line
Fields is in the midst of a transition year for the Chicago Bears. As Jay Cutler noted, that’s a quarterback killer, as he must wade through a new offensive scheme while having a roster on offense that wouldn’t survive many other teams’ cuts.
For him to be healthy, much less successful, Fields will need the line to protect him. The line will also need to adjust to a complicated running scheme in order for Herbert and Montgomery to put up their numbers. For that reason, I’m taking Lucas Patrick as my projected Bears non-QB MVP. I really wanted to go with Tevin Jenkins after the end of last season, but I’m not sure how he’s adjusted to his weight loss regimen just yet.
Patrick is the Bears’ projected starter at center this season. Patrick has experience playing with the Bears’ new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. He’s going to need to be a stable anchor and mentor for a young offensive line surrounding him.
If Patrick is able to be a solid center for the Bears, and help these young players figure out their assignments, the offense has a chance to run more smoothly. It’s going to be because of Patrick that Fields can get the ball to Mooney, to Byron Pringle, and to Velus Jones Jr. It’ll be on Patrick to steer the offensive line’s difficult running scheme so Herbert and Montgomery can keep the Bears defense off the field.
Patrick was probably the best addition the Chicago Bears made in free agency. The 28-year-old veteran has the experience the Bears need to get his job done on the offensive line. With a unit ranked near the bottom, one player taking care of their business and a bit more will show in a big way.
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