Darnell Mooney says the new regime for the Chicago Bears is like “night and day” from the team’s erstwhile leadership.
The Bears fired former general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy in January after a 6-11 finish in 2021. It was the third straight sub-.500 season Chicago, and in an appearance on Barstool Sports’ Red Line Radio on June 23, Mooney discussed the team’s trajectory since new GM Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus took over.
Mooney discussed other things, of course, including his new role as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver and the improvements he has seen from second-year quarterback Justin Fields. “He’s locked in for sure, man,” Mooney said about Fields. “He’s gonna have a big year.”
The 24-year-old wide receiver saved his most eye-opening comments for his experience in 2021 under Nagy, however.
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Mooney on Bears’ New Regime: Everyone Knows the Standard
When asked what has changed from the team’s previous regime, Mooney was candid. “It’s night and day, man,” he said. “It’s smooth. I mean, everything. Everybody knows where to go, when to do something, what’s the expectation, what’s the standard.”
The young wideout also noted players seem to understand their respective roles far better under Eberflus than they did under Nagy. “You know what you’re getting out of the next day. It’s not coming in and just: ‘What we got going on?'”
Mooney was also asked whether things are more organized under Eberflus. “Yeah. Everybody knows exactly what the coaches want.”
“He’s a chill guy,” Mooney said about Eberflus, before throwing a dart at Nagy. “He’s not a ‘rah-rah’ type of guy. He sets the standard.”
Considering Bears’ starting cornerback Jaylon Johnson said the following near the end of the 2021 regular season, the “rah-rah” bit was surely directed at Nagy:
“We have to find ways to win, we just have to get it done. Whatever it is,” Johnson said last November, via Sports Illustrated. “There’s nothing to keep coming in here and talking about, and having all these rah-rah speeches. We’ve had five weeks of rah-rah speeches. I don’t think that talking is anything we need to be doing.”
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Mooney Details ‘Brutal’ 2021 Season
Mooney also noted he appreciated how Eberflus, who is a defensive-minded head coach, is involved with the offense, but leaves new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy room to do his own thing.
A former offensive coordinator, Nagy was frequently criticized for his inability to step back from the team’s offensive scheme and let his coordinators do most of the work and game-planning.
“You need somebody that’s in charge of, like, the organization part of it,” Mooney noted. “I like how he (Eberflus) lets Luke just do his thing. He’s not a part of it. He’s in our meetings and stuff, and he understands the playbook, he knows what’s going on on both sides (of the ball), but he kind of stays out of the way.”
Mooney also had candid admissions about a 1-8 stretch Chicago had in the second half of the season.
“You could definitely feel the energy, a lot of guys, just having that time of: ‘All right, man, let’s get this over with, bro, it’s getting brutal out here.’ It’s hard to have a good mindset going into the next week when you just keep losing.”
Mooney averaged 4.8 yards after the catch last year, and he finished with a career-high 1,055 receiving yards, 81 catches and four TDs. If Getsy and company can get more out of him and the rest of the squad, the Bears will have taken a significant step forward.