PHOENIX — The Bears should “absolutely” stick with quarterback Justin Fields, said Michael Vick, the quarterback whom he outgained on the ground in 2022 for the second-best rushing season ever at the position.
“Good quarterbacks are hard to find,” Vick, the former Falcons and Eagles standout turned Fox analyst, said Tuesday. “You got a guy who just ran for 1,000 yards.”
To be precise: 1,143 yards, 104 more than Vick did in 2006 and 63 short of Lamar Jackson’s record, set in 2019. Fields needs to do more than that, though, in his second season in Luke Getsy’s system.
“That second year is paramount,” Vick said. “It’s very important throughout the offseason to learn what needs to happen. I think they’re a step ahead of the curve. You’ve just gotta make Justin a better passer and get an offense around him that’s going to really help him take it to the next level.”
That will, more than anything, determine how far Fields can go.
“I think your ceiling as a quarterback is all predicated on how well you’re coached and how good of a system and players are put around you,” Vick said. “You can have all the talent in the world and if you don’t have talent around you — if you don’t have the right coaching, the right play-calling, at the right times, at the right moments — then you will not succeed.
“A lot of these guys’ careers hang in the balance because they gotta get the right tutelage around them. It’s unfortunate, because that’s how the game goes. There’s not a lot of Andy Reids and Nick Siriannis around.”
A vote for Kafka
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he talked to Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill to endorse Mike Kafka for their head coaching vacancy. Kafka, who attended St. Rita of Cascia High School on the South Side and was a star quarterback at Northwestern, is a finalist.
“He’d do a great job,” Reid said. “He’d challenge the team. I think guys would respond. … I think he would be tremendous for the city, the Bidwill family.”
Reid’s Eagles drafted Kafka in the fourth round in 2010. Upon retirement, he served as an offensive graduate assistant for the Wildcats in 2016 before joining Reid’s Chiefs, first as an offensive quality control coach and then as quarterbacks coach.
He left last offseason to become the Giants’ offensive coordinator, where he helped Daniel Jones produce his best season.
“He taught me a ton, me coming from the ‘Air Raid’ and being an NFL quarterback,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “Even sometimes when I thought it was annoying, it’s made me a better quarterback, because he made sure I focused on the details every single time I stepped into the building.
“He would help [Cardinals quarterback] Kyler [Murray] a ton, too.”
Here’s an oddity for the Super Bowl: the Eagles have two punters, and Sirianni won’t say which one will play. Brett Kern is on the team’s 53-man roster, though Arryn Siposs, who punted in 13 games this season, is eligible to return from injured reserve. The right-footed punter hurt the ankle on his left leg Dec. 11.