A quarterback who can run is going to be a trend for the future at the position Bears QB Justin Fields says.
No football player who carried the ball more than 123 times in an NFL season ever averaged as many yards per carry as Justin Fields last season at 7.1 yards.
Notice that was any player, not just quarterbacks, not just running backs. And Fields did this with 160 rushing attempts, not 125. He was carrying it more than some top running backs.
It's Fields' ability to run that set him apart last season, and although the Bears want to see him improve greatly as a pocket passer no one wants to see him lose the rushing advantage he has.
Fields spoke extensively about his rushing the ball and mobility during an interview with Complex Sports. In it, he called his ability to run a part of a trend and it's difficult to argue when you see two Super Bowl quarterbacks who rank among the game's most mobile athletes.
"I think the game is just changing to be honest with you," he told Complex Sports. "Unless you have a crazy offensive line where you can just sit back there and chill in the pocket, you're going to have to be mobile. So I think you’re going to find more African American quarterbacks who can extend plays.
"The game is just changing, when you step on the field and see 260-, 270-pound dudes running 4.6s that's tough for an offensive line to hold up every play. As a quarterback, you're going to have to use your legs and extend plays."
Whether this actually is a trend or not remains to be seen. It is a fact this year.
In the 2021 season, the two opposing QBs were pocket passers Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow.
However, Fields is right about the speed of defensive linemen and being able to get away from them when plays break down.
What Fields needs to do to take the next step is what both of this year's Super bowl quarterbacks already do, and that's pass better from the pocket.
Hurts hadn't done this well until 2022 but improved and when he started doing better the Eagles took off. Patrick Mahomes is such a versatile player it's difficult to pigeon-hole him as a running QB. He'll stand in and throw or move out of the pocket and buy time.
Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, speaking with reporters at the Senior Bowl, said he needs to see more from Fields as a passer.
"He showed the ability to be a playmaker, be impactful," Getsy said. "He can change games quickly. Does he have room to grow? He does. He has to get better as a passer, and I'm excited to see him take those steps as we move forward."
Fields explained in the Complex Sports interview how it is he has become known for his running while at Ohio State his reputation was quite the opposite.
COMPLEX SPORTS INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN FIELDS
"At Ohio State, we probably had the best players in the country," he said. "Either us, Alabama or Georgia. So when we play teams who aren’t as talented as us, you don't have to do too much—just let your great players around you do their thing.
"But in the league, there are great players everywhere, and we had a few injuries on the offensive line this year. So I was just trying to run around and make things happen out of busted plays. I think this year I just had to use my legs a little bit more to put points up on the board. But hopefully this coming year and the rest of my career I won't have to run as much."
Highest NFL Average Per Rush
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