Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields isn’t wasting any time further developing his connection with wide receiver Darnell Mooney.
In his second season with the Bears, Mooney had a career year with Fields leading the way for the majority of the season. Mooney was the 11th most targeted receiver in the NFL last year, according to PFF. He caught 81 passes on 140 targets for 1,055 yards (13.0 yards per catch) and four touchdowns, but there are still a few wrinkles in his game worth ironing out.
Mooney had a 70.3 passer rating when targeted and four drops last season, which isn’t ideal.
Fields also has things he needs to improve upon after an up and down rookie campaign last year. The 23-year-old quarterback fumbled 12 times while also throwing 10 interceptions, and while much of his issues stemmed from a porous offensive line and the inept offense of recently-fired ex-coach Matt Nagy, Fields still has a long way to go.
Fortunately for the Bears, neither Mooney nor Fields are averse to putting in the work required to get better.
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Fields & Mooney Already Working Together This Offseason
In a video originally shared by Chicago sports performance doctor Michael Tal Risher on Twitter, Mooney can be seen running routes for Fields, who tosses him a crisp long ball. Take a look:
It’s a great sign for the two young players, whose on-field chemistry last season left many encouraged despite the team’s 6-11 finish.
“Me and Mooney, we stay almost every day after practice to throw at least a few extra routes,” Fields said last season, per NBC Sports. “So me and him are pretty much always on the same page.”
“There’s not much more you can really ask from him that he doesn’t do already,” Fields added. “He’s always willing to get extra work in. He’s watching film constantly. With his work ethic, you know how much he loves the game and how much he wants to be great. That’s what I love about him. He truly inspired me to be a better player and a better teammate.”
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Mooney Singled Out By Bears New GM
When new general manager Ryan Poles spoke with the media at the NFL scouting combine on March 1, he was asked his thoughts on the roster he inherited, and he singled Mooney out in a good way.
“Bright spot was Darnell Mooney,” Poles said. “As guys have come in to work out, we’ve had the opportunity just to introduce each other and he stopped in and I was really blown away by the person.”
“He’s got a quiet confidence about him, and he’s hungry to be special,” Poles continued. “I’m always looking for guys that keep raising their own bar in terms of where they want to go. He just wants to be special, and you can feel that in him.”
It’s clear both Fields and Mooney are dedicated to improving their respective games this offseason, and seeing the two young players taking the necessary initiative to get better has to be encouraging if you’re a Bears fan.
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