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Highlights of the article:

  • Simms, Chris, an NBC Sports commentator, admitted that he was mistaken about Chicago Bears rookie Justin Fields.
  • Simms didn’t think much of Fields when he was drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft.
  • The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback also had some harsh words for Trey Lance of the San Francisco 49ers.

Chris Simms, an NBC Sports commentator, is ready to go where few journalists would contemplate going in 2021: the realm of eating crow.

During the pre-draft process, Simms, a former quarterback, raised caution and suspicion about ex-Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. The 2019 Heisman Trophy contender has converted one of his most vociferous opponents into an apologetic supporter as he continues to grow and attempt to overcome head coach Matt Nagy’s lethargic offense.

Chris Simms admits he was mistaken about Justin Fields, a Bears rookie.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is making Chris Simms own up to his error. Chris Simms admits he was incorrect about Justin Fields’ performance as a rookie quarterback for the Chicago Bears | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Simms graded Fields as the event’s fifth-best quarterback in the lead-up to the 2021 NFL Draft. He also predicted that his previous club, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will choose the 2019 Big Ten Championship Game MVP with the 32nd overall selection.

None of it occurred, as we all know. In April, the Bears moved up and selected Fields with the 11th overall selection. However, he was the fourth quarterback selected.

Simms then released his yearly quarterback rankings, and he didn’t hold back while putting Fields 39th out of 40 quarterbacks. Remember, the Ohio State product hadn’t even started a game yet, yet Simms thought he was better than Cleveland Browns backup Case Keenum. 

Simms is prepared to say he was incorrect a few months later, in mid-October. The Football Night in America commentator admitted his error on the Oct. 18 broadcast of Chris Simms Unbuttoned. 

“He’s a light year ahead of [San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback] Trey Lance right now, in my opinion.” He isn’t as raw as the others. Rather than just being a fantastic athlete who plays the position, he has a better understanding of how to play it. And that’s what I like about him, as well as his ability to conduct himself and do everything else well.”

Chris Simms

On this summer’s quarterback rankings, Simms placed Lance 38th. Fields was ranked ahead of Lance by the former Buccaneers quarterback in his pre-draft quarterback rankings.

Simms could be a little ahead of Fields on this one.

Simms, to his credit, has always backed up his contentious views and passionate comments. For as absurd as some of his football opinions and rankings have been, he’s at least attempted to let us understand where he’s coming from.

As a result, the Texas product should take a big breath and relax. Fields has four starts and six games under his belt in the NFL, yet he’s still looking like a rookie. He hasn’t performed particularly well, but he hasn’t played poorly either. He’s been good, which is wonderful in and of itself.

Fields has completed 53.5 percent of his throws for 632 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions heading into a Week 7 meeting with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Despite his 102 yards and a score on the ground, the Bears have been hesitant to completely use him as a runner. No one with a normal mind is yet panicking about the Bears’ offensive ailments and general inconsistency under Nagy, the former offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Still, Fields hasn’t done enough to earn Simms’ forgiveness. With highs and lows, he’s been an average rookie starter. Consider Mac Jones and Trevor Lawrence, who have made significant progress for the Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots, respectively, in recent weeks.

Given that Fields has just one start and 111 total offensive snaps under his belt, Simms’ admission that he isn’t as “raw” as Lance is puzzling. Fields, on the other hand, has logged 272 offensive snaps. There isn’t a large enough sample size to begin comparing quarterbacks.

Nobody is writing Fields off just yet, or even implying that he’ll be a flop. But, before we rush to judgment, let’s give the youngster a couple more weeks as the starter. Even if he’s still waiting for the Bears to give him the green light and let him to play like a true dual-threat quarterback, he’s earned it.

Simms should also give Trey Lance a chance to show himself.

Perhaps the most important conclusion from Simms’ remarks has nothing to do with Fields. It does, since he stated the Bears rookie is “light years ahead” of Lance, but it’s more of an indictment on Lance — and an odd one at that.

Lance has started one game and had a big role in another, in which he filled in for Jimmy Garoppolo, who was injured. After coming off the bench in Week 4, he completed nine of his 18 pass attempts for 157 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions against the Seattle Seahawks. 

Lance rushed for 89 yards in his debut start, despite the Arizona Cardinals’ tough defense holding him to 192 yards and an interception in Week 5. Even though he only completed 24 of 47 passes in those games, he is still a rookie who has played six quarters of football.

Lance’s return to the starting lineup might take some time. In Week 7, Garoppolo is slated to face Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts. Depending on how the 49ers’ season goes, Lance may not see extensive action again until December, barring another injury.

Simms took six weeks to alter his mind on Fields. Based on the current situation, Lance may have to wait a little longer to get out of the doghouse.

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After a year of working for Bill Belichick, Chris Simms had “stomach pains.”

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