Disappointing: Trevis Gipson
Entering 2022, Trevis Gipson was expected to be one of the Bears’ breakout stars as he was coming off a seven-sack and five forced fumbles sophomore campaign. But Gipson has been dead silent all season, only tallying three sacks, four tackles for loss, and no forced fumbles. After getting two sacks vs Green Bay in week 2, Gipson went twelve straight games without recording a sack. Gipson has pressured the QB 17 times this season which is worth taking a positive note over, but Gipson has still fallen well short of becoming a threatening pass rusher for the Bears.
Surprising: Justin Fields
Many Bears fans expected Justin Fields to take that next step this season but he certainly surpassed everyone’s expectations. Despite an underwhelming receiving core, his top two receivers being injured for 5 weeks, a first-time play-caller, and an injured offensive line that was already terrible, Fields willed the Bears’ offense to six straight 24+ point weeks. The Bears’ offense looked the best it had been since the Brandon Marshall/Alshon Jeffery/Matt Forte days. Fields is one of if not the most electric runners in the NFL and has shown significant progress throwing the ball despite what the passing yards truthers say. Fields still has room to grow when it comes to anticipation and reading the field like many other young QBs do, but he’s fundamentally a very accurate passer and has made some throws that very few other QBs can make. There’s a lot to look forward to for Bears fans but Justin Fields sits atop everything else.
Disappointing: Larry Borom
Larry Borom is a second-year tackle who showed some flashes of being a good pass blocker in his rookie season. Borom has not played for five weeks due to injury but before then he was a liability at the right tackle position. Borom had been benched a couple of times and played a big role in the Bears’ disappointing offensive line. Borom was looked at as a potential long-term piece on the line but will now most likely be replaced this coming offseason.
Surprising: Braxton Jones
Lined up on the opposite side of Borom, rookie Braxton Jones has debatably been the Bears’ best offensive lineman despite playing the hardest position on the line and being a fifth-round selection. Playing left tackle as a rookie in the NFL is very difficult and he has certainly had his moments of getting beat but overall he’s been a very reliable and consistent blocker for Fields. General manager, Ryan Poles traded down several times and drafted four offensive linemen hoping that one would pan out, and early in his career Braxton Jones has seemed to already fulfill those expectations.
Disappointing: Velus Jones Jr.
Velus Jones Jr. may be the most disappointing Bear from this season. He is a 25-year-old rookie out of Tennessee who can be electric with the ball in his hands but has severely suffered from drop and fumble problems this season. Jones lost the Bears a potential game-tying drive vs the Giants with a muffed punt, a chance to wind the clock down for a win vs Washington with a muffed punt, and killed offensive momentum as the Bears were about to take the lead vs the Eagles late. There had also been a couple of instances of open drops that were less consequential. Jones has shown the ability to be extremely shifty with the ball and has the potential to be a great yards-after-the-catch receiver. But it’s nearly impossible for him to achieve that potential if he continues to struggle to hold onto the ball as much as he does.
Surprising: Eddie Jackson
Eddie Jackson has seen a complete revitalization of his career this season. Prior to suffering a season-ending injury vs the Jets, Jackson had his highest career interception and turnovers forced numbers since 2018. Jackson has been a true leader for the Bears’ very young secondary and losing him has been an obvious blow to the rest of the defense. Bears fans can only hope he comes back strong next season and continue his resurgence.