The Chicago Bears were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday night when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Minnesota Vikings. However, that doesn't take away from the fact that the Bears have been much-improved of late and have several positives to cling on to.
The Bears are 4-1 in their last 5 games, and the defense has been playing lights out. Justin Fields has also been much more consistent, and the ground game has been one of the best in the league.
Last week, we identified a few Bears who should be nearing the end of their Bears' tenure. Today, we're going to identify a few players who could be playing their way into the team's plans.
Herbert is under contract in 2024, but it was easy to envision a scenario in which the team decided to roll with Roschon Johnson as the lead back. Instead, Herbert may have forced the team to keep him in consideration for the role in 2024.
Herbert has now eclipsed 100 rushing yards in consecutive games and has set career-highs in receptions and receiving yards this season. With the way Herbert contributes in multiple ways, it may be difficult to relegate the young RB to a backup role next season. Herbert has been the most consistent rusher on the team (other than Justin Fields) and deserves another shot at the starting gig in 2024.
Jones is having a career year in what is also a contract year. The veteran defensive lineman has a career-high 4.5 sacks, which is 2nd on the team. Jones has also added 47 total tackles and 10 tackles for loss.
In 2022, the Bears had the No. 31 run defense in the league. In 2023, the team currently has the No. 1 run defense. Jones' improved play has been no small part of this massive improvement for the unit. Before the season, many rightfully assumed Jones would hit the market after 2023. However, the defender has played himself into a raise in all likelihood.
Justin Fields has been the subject of much debate this season. The Bears had the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft but decided to trade it and stick with Fields. Because of that trade, the Bears once again have the No. 1 pick, and this quarterback class is supposedly better than last year's. Will the Bears really pass on a QB again?
I believe the recent play of Fields makes it entirely possible, if not likely. Fields has already set a new career-high in passing yards and completion percentage, and has only played in 12 games this season. Fields also leads the team in rushing yards and touchdowns. The QB also has the fewest turnovers of his career thus far.
Fields very well could have forced his way into the Bears' 2024 plans.