1-2 punch: Bears QB Justin Fields showcasing growth with new top WR DJ Moore


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) ⁠— In one of the first practices the Bears held as part of OTAs, quarterback Justin Fields dropped a deep ball directly into the hands of receiver DJ Moore.

That seems to happen each time the Bears take the field in their offseason program. Fields already feels dialed in with his new No. 1 target Moore, and there’s budding excitement for what their connection can accomplish.

“It looks like they got that chemistry going very fast,” Bears safety Jaquan Brisker said. “Earlier than I expected. They look good though. They look like they’re best friends. Justin’s definitely throwing him the ball. (No.) 2 (Moore) is getting the ball, no doubt. Justin looks good though. He’s going through his progressions. He’s looking very smooth, making good decisions out there and looking like the best quarterback in the NFL. I thought that last year, but this year it’s different. (No.) 1 looks different and him and (No. 2), you’re going to see. You will see.”

The Bears prioritized acquiring Moore as part of the blockbuster trade in which they sent the No. 1 overall pick to the Panthers in March. Rather than coveting a 2025 first-round pick as part of the big trade package, Bears general manager Ryan Poles preferred the 26-year-old Moore, believing he'll be a key investment around Fields.

Moore had 364 receptions for 5,201 yards and 21 touchdowns over five seasons with the Panthers, proving himself as a top receiver despite a revolving door of quarterbacks in Carolina. Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Fields has ascended in his two NFL seasons and set quarterback rushing records, but he has been missing a dynamic wide receiver. Fields completed 60.4% of his passes for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while also rushing for 1, 143 yards in 15 games last season.

Fields now heads into a pivotal third year in the NFL with more comfort in the passing game.

“He’s made a conscious effort to make himself smoother, make himself more fluid, letting his feet lead him and then everything else mirrors off of that,” Bears quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko said. “To me, that’s where we’ve seen some growth. It’s what he’s put a real focus on.”

Moore's arrival is a key factor in Fields’ promise moving forward. In addition to Moore's production, he'll also command more attention from defenses, which should mean openings for other Bears targets.

“He’s going to be a big impact player for us,” Bears tight end Cole Kmet said. “For the tight end room, it’s big. You’ve got a guy that can threaten vertically and can do those things and open up zone and holes for us. So, it’s really exciting, and along with the other receivers we’ve got, with Darnell (Mooney), Chase (Claypool), Dante (Pettis), I think it will be a good group there and we’re looking forward to see how it goes.

“I think we’re going to be better around (Fields), so that’s going to help him a lot.”

For his part, Fields has pointed to Moore as his “No. 1” target. Mooney, who has been Fields’ most trusted target over the last two years, will still play a key role while likely drawing less attention from opposing defenses. Claypool, who was acquired last November in exchange for a second-round pick, has “improved tremendously” this offseason in the mind of Fields.

With Moore as the key addition, Fields has the pieces in place to enjoy what the Bears hope is a breakthrough season.

“His drive, his want-to, his professionalism sets the tone for everything,” Janocko said.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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