Posted by Zach Ring

Training Camp Standouts and a Look Back – NFC North

August 19, 2023

We took a look at the NFC East players we were excited to watch before Training Camp started to see how they fared now that we are nearing the end of Camp. Today we’ll do the same thing with the NFC North. We’ll also discuss a few other standouts from each team.

Chicago Bears – Justin Fields – Did Justin Fields improve enough as a passer this offseason? That’s what I’m watching. He’ll have plenty of time in Training Camp to prove this because he won’t be scrambling much. I think he takes a huge step forward this year and the Bears will be very exciting to watch on offense.

Detroit Lions – Jahmyr Gibbs – I love Jahmyr Gibbs. I don’t think this will be anything like the D’Andre Swift situation in Detroit. I see Gibbs getting a lot of touches. You don’t take a running back in the top 15 and not use him. Gibbs will be a star in Detroit, so I’ll be tracking him all Training Camp. Honorable mention: Sam LaPorta

Green Bay Packers – Jordan Love – A new era in Green Bay. I honestly have no idea what to expect from Jordan Love this year, which is why I’m so excited to watch him in his first Training Camp as THE GUY. The Packers offense will be very balanced, so it’ll be Love’s job not to turn the ball over, but I hope they don’t treat him like a rookie.

Minnesota Vikings – Jordan Addison –  I could have chosen Mattison but we know he’s the starter. It’ll only be a matter of time before Jordan Addison is the #2 receiver on this team, but I’ll bet he starts off as the #3. I’m interested to see how long it’ll take him to surpass KJ Osborn. This is all assuming he stops driving 140 mph in his Lambo.

Chicago Bears

Justin Fields has shown throughout Camp that he’s more than just a running quarterback. With the addition of DJ Moore, who has also had a fantastic Camp, Fields has seemed to elevate his passing prowess. Fields and Moore have developed a nice chemistry that should carry into the season. The scrambling will still be a big part of his game, but look for Fields to take that next step as a passer this season if Training Camp is any indication of what’s to come.

Tyler Scott, the rookie fourth round wide receiver, is another name that has continued to pup up during Camp. He’s had a few drops, but his speed and separation skills have been evident. I don’t know if he’ll have much of a role in 2023 besides the occasional deep shot, but he’s an exciting stash on dynasty rosters. 

Detroit Lions

I am all in on the Lions offense this year. Jahmyr Gibbs was my player to watch and he has not disappointed. He has cooked LBs in 1v1 pass drills, he has shown his vision and burst, and he has shown great hands out of the backfield. Like I said a few weeks ago, this isn’t a D’Andre Swift situation. The Lions have every intention of utilizing Jahmyr Gibbs.

As good has Gibbs has been in Camp, he might not even be the offensive rookie that is having the best Camp. It’s close, but that honor may go to Sam LaPorta. LaPorta was almost immediately locked in as the Lions TE1 as soon as OTAs started. He’s even more locked in now. He’s had an excellent Camp. He’s proven to be an all around TE that can catch and block. Reports have consistently come out of Camp that he has become one of Jared Goff’s go to guys. Rookie tight ends historically struggle in their first couple years in the league, but I’d be wiling to bet that 2023 is the year of the rookie tight end with LaPorta, Kincaid, and a guy that will be mentioned below.

It kind of goes without mentioning, but Amon-Ra St. Brown has been the best player on the field in almost every single practice.

Green Bay Packers

Jordan Love has been very inconsistent thus far in Camp. That was probably to be expected. The Packers have very young pass catchers, so it might take a few weeks into the season before we can really gauge the passing game. Love has had moments where he’s made incredible throws, including a side arm pass between a couple of defenders during Packers Family Night. He’s also been unable to convert in a bunch of situational drills. This situation is still very much in flux.

Luke Musgrave has been a bright spot. If anything, the Packers have some speed on offense with Musgrave and Christian Watson. Like LaPorta, Musgrave has been locked in as the Packers TE1 all of Camp. He’s had a small issue with drops, but has mostly had a good Camp. He’s a big target in the middle of the field, which is where he’ll do most of his damage.

Minnesota Vikings

Watching Jordan Addison throughout Training Camp, it is evident that he will succeed in the NFL. His route running, body control, and catching are top notch. He’s made several plays during camp and has consistently gotten open. He should see a lot of targets across from Justin Jefferson this year. It still remains to be seen whether or not he starts the year behind KJ Osborn as the WR3. Nothing to fret, though, as the Vikings used 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end and three receivers) more than 70 percent of the time in 2022.

Ty Chandler might be the Vikings best running back… Alexander Mattison is definitely the starter, but if he struggles to be productive, look for Ty Chandler to get more and more involved. Not only has Chandler been impressive in Training Camp, he also showed out in the first preseason game. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though. It’s just a preseason game and more goes into being a reliable running back than being a good runner.

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