The Chicago Bears are giving fans a sneak preview of the growing connection between quarterback Justin Fields and new No. 1 receiver D.J. Moore with a workout video that has begun to go viral among the Chicago faithful.
On Sunday, the Bears shared a short practice clip to their official Twitter account that showed Fields dropping back and slinging one downfield to Moore for a completion. While it was a simple timing throw without pressure bearing down or defenders trying to lock up Moore, it still offered one of the first glimpses at the quarterback-receiver tandem that the Bears are hoping can become a fixture of their offense in 2023.
The Bears have big plans for Moore after aggressively targeting him in their trade negotiations with the Carolina Panthers for the No. 1 overall draft pick. Chicago’s general manager, Ryan Poles, had made sure the 25-year-old was a “non-negotiable” part of the deal with Carolina, and now his starting quarterback is set to have a bona fide No. 1 receiver for the first time in his young NFL career during the 2023 season.
Moore put up more than 1,150 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons between 2019 and 2021, doing so in spite of a quarterback carousel that included Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold and P.J Walker as his starters. He also upped his scoring output in 2022 with a career-high seven touchdowns, serving as one of the only bright spots on Carolina’s fourth-worst passing offense in the league.
While it remains to be seen if Moore will make the leap into the upper echelon of NFL receivers in 2023, the circumstances in Chicago are as favorable as they have ever been for him with a promising young quarterback at the helm and a pair of talented receivers — Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool — in position to take some of the heat off of him.
Communication is Key for Justin Fields & D.J. Moore
Moore has the potential to be the best receiving weapon the Bears have had in their arsenal since Brandon Marshall’s three-year run from 2012 to 2014. He is a playmaker, one who can just as easily fight for the ball in the air as he can generate extra yardage after the catch with his speed and athleticism. Fields has gotten to play with Mooney and Allen Robinson, but Moore is on another level — and can help bump him up another level, too, once they forge a proper connection on the field.
The Bears understand building that type of bond is going to take time, though.
“As great of a quarterback as you can be or as great as a receiver can be, if there’s not a relationship and a connection between the two of them, then it doesn’t really matter,” Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said on May 6. “What’s cool is DJ’s experiences that he’s had, he’s had to play with a few different quarterbacks and a few different systems. So you can tell he doesn’t really get fazed by the new, which is going to be really good. Once those two can communicate with each other — body language, quick communication verbally and stuff — all that will get better as we get going.”
Could Justin Fields Break Out in Revamped Offense?
Moore isn’t the only offensive upgrade the Bears have made for the 2023 season. They added a pair of pass-catching weapons in tight end Robert Tonyan and fourth-round rookie wide receiver Tyler Scott. They restocked their running back room with D’Onta Foreman, Travis Homer and fourth-round rookie Roschon Johnson to account for the loss of David Montgomery in free agency. Even Claypool could feel like a new upgrade if he uses the offseason wisely and returns with a strong grasp of the system, unlike when he was traded midseason and forced to play catch-up while battling an injury.
The Bears have done their part; now the responsibility to get better falls on Fields.
Fields had a complicated second season in the league in 2022. His scrambling ability was featured among his many highlights on his way to recording the second-most rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history behind Lamar Jackson. At the same time, he finished with just 2,242 passing yards and earned Pro Football Focus’ worst passing grade (54.4) among 22 players who played at least 50% of their team’s quarterback snaps in 2022.
There is certainly an argument to be made that Fields could have been more successful as a passer in 2022 with a better supporting cast of receivers and offensive linemen, but the Bears seem to be doing everything in their power now to put him in a position to thrive in 2023. They also beefed up his offensive line with the signing of veteran right guard Nate Davis and the drafting of first-round rookie tackle Darnell Wright.
“It’s got to come together, but I feel like on paper right now, I feel like we’ve done a really good job to surround him with the talent,” Poles said, via ESPN.