The Chicago Bears did a lot to overhaul their roster on both sides of the ball.
Key to that was adding offensive lineman Nate Davis to a much-maligned group from 2022. It contributed to a league-high 55 sacks for quarterback Justin Fields.
He’s now considered the team’s ‘best-kept secret’.
Nate Davis Considered Bears’ ‘Best Kept Secret’
“Playing in Tennessee last season, [Davis] finished as the 17th-ranked guard by [Pro Football Focus’s metrics,” writes Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report naming each team’s ‘best-kept secret’ on March 21. “He’s been a consistent starter for some good offensive lines during his time in Tennessee. He’s the kind of underrated addition that raises the floor of the Bears offense.”
Chicago signed Davis to a three-year, $30 million contract with $19.2 million guaranteed after he helped block for two-time rushing champion Derrick Henry who tallied over 1500 yards on the ground last season.
And for a look at Davis in the run game, keep an eye on No. 64 in the clip below.
Derrick Henry is a powerful man 🚜
📺: #JAXvsTEN on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/xHAnGDC3Lg pic.twitter.com/fjpgBCi8mx
— NFL (@NFL) December 11, 2022
Adding Davis also allowed the Bears to slide third-year man Teven Jenkins over to the left side and move 2022 starting left guard Cody Whitehair in at center. In theory, one signing should strengthen three positions with rookie Darnell Wright – the No. 10 overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft – manning the right tackle position.
Bears Need 3rd-Year Leap From Justin Fields
Fields and the Bears boasted the NFL’s best rushing attack, racking up nearly 300 yards over the No. 2 team, the Baltimore Ravens.
The third-year quarterback led the charge with 1143 yards on the ground. But the Bears are hoping his retooled offensive line – plus some new weapons in D.J. Moore and Robert Tonyan – will see him take that next step as a passer.
Early indications have been positive.
Bears Coaches Deliver Encouraging Message About Justin Fields
And Fields is saying all of the right things.
“The guys who were in the offense last year are way more comfortable this year with the playbook,” Fields told Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com, “and focusing on the defense rather than just the little stuff with the offense because they know it, they know the foundation of it.”
Darnell Mooney ‘Disrespecting Everbody’ in ’23
One of Fields’ top weapons of 2022, wide receiver Darnell Mooney, did not finish the season, succumbing to an ankle injury that require surgery and cost him the final three weeks of the season. Heading into a contract year, Mooney says that he is no longer concerned with others’ opinions of him.
“Ball out. Dominate,” Mooney said on ‘The 33rd Team’ podcast on May 18. “I’m not really on the ‘respect my name’ anymore. I’m just disrespecting everybody now. Don’t really care about respect no more. Other than that, I just want to win. I don’t really care about anything else.”
Mooney is just one year removed from his first 1000-yard campaign.
📺: #CHIvsMIN on FOX
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— NFL (@NFL) October 9, 2022
If he can return to full health, he may be poised for a big year with Moore in tow to take away opposing defenses’ attention. At the same time, there are a lot more proven mouths to feed than there were at this time last season. Whatever happens, the Bears’ offense figures to be worlds better this coming season.