Bears Fans Pumped About Justin Fields’ Potential With New Wideout DJ Moore

Written By Matthew Lomon on July 13, 2023
DJ Moore

Chicago is “where receivers go to die.” Well, at least according to retired wideout Muhsin Muhammad. 

The last time a former Carolina Panthers wide receiver joined the Chicago Bears, it ended on a sour note. But this time around, Bears brass is ecstatic about bringing in a player and person of DJ Moore’s caliber. After a dismal 2022 campaign, Moore is sure to boost the Bears odds of making the playoffs in 2023.

“He fits our culture and what we’re trying to do and keeps that room and our team and our locker room in a really good place,” Bears general manager Ryan Poles told NBC Sports Chicago.

As Bears training camp gets set to open on July 26 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, fans are equally excited about Moore’s prospects of energizing Chicago’s offense.

The Bears acquired Moore in March, along with four draft picks, as part of the blockbuster deal that sent the first overall pick in this year’s draft to Carolina.  

The former Maryland Terrapin will immediately slot in as emerging Quarterback Justin Fields’ go-to option in the passing game; something the team has sorely lacked since Fields’ arrival in 2021. 

So, how will the explosive 26-year-old’s presence influence the Bears’ offensive philosophy in 2023-24? Let’s explore.

Moore is the type of player the Bears’ offense has been waiting for

Over five seasons in Carolina, Moore reeled in 364 passes for 5,2021 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns. He did this while catching passes from eight different quarterbacks, including Taylor Heinicke, Will Grier, and Kyle Allen.

For reference, the Bears’ all-time leading receiver, Johnny Morris, registered 5,059 yards across nine seasons. Now, the game was vastly different when Morris played in the late ’50s-mid ’60s, and there has been a number of Bears’ receivers to put up strong seasons since, but most of that success was relatively short-lived.

What Moore brings is a sustainable, complete game that complements the strengths of Fields and play-caller Luke Getsy. Under the Fields-Getsy combination, the Bears run a wide-zone, play-action heavy offensive scheme that desperately needs greater balance in 2023. Understandably, the 2022-23 Bears were more run-oriented because they lacked top-end skill players and consistency across the offensive line.

After addressing needs along the line through the draft and free agency, the Bears will now be able to maximize the value that Moore brings to the offense as both a game-breaker and safety net.

New wideout’s style of play a familiar sight for Fields

At 6’0″, 210 pounds, Moore isn’t going to physically dominate opponents like former Bears’ pass-catchers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

He is, however, going to put constant stress on the defense with ferocious footwork, astonishing acceleration and impeccable intelligence. Moore’s new signal-caller excelled throwing to receivers that resemble this mold during his time at Ohio State.

With the Buckeyes, Fields had Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. They were selected back-to-back in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft. Moore, Wilson, and Olave are all six-feet tall, weigh in the ballpark of 200 pounds, and run a similar 40-yard dash.

In his two years throwing to Wilson and Olave, Fields compiled:

  • 5,373 passing yards
  • 63 passing touchdowns to nine interceptions
  • 68.4 completion percentage

Of course, college ball is college ball, and these are three different players, but this is the type of receiver that fits Fields’ play style.

Interestingly, there have been numerous reports out of Bears minicamp about the strong rapport between Moore and Fields. The QB, along with teammates and beat reports, acknowledged that the chemistry between the Bears stars came about rather quickly.

Again, it’s early, and everyone knows what to say this time of year, but the corresponding tape looks the part so far. Here’s a glimpse of what fans can expect from Chicago’s newest 1-2 punch.

Moore’s presence restores order within Bears’ wide receiver room

In the short, but promising time that’s been the Justin Fields-era in Chicago, the Bears’ depth chart at wide receiver has been, let’s say, out of sorts.

What does that mean? The team hasn’t had a true number one wide receiver, only one by proxy. That’s not an indictment of Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, or the ghost of Allen Robinson, it’s simply the truth. But with Moore in the fold, not only do the Bears have a true number one, they also have order.

Rarely do teams with players taking on roles above their expected value succeed. That we know. Bears GM Ryan Poles also knows that. Hence his insistence that Moore be included in the return for the number one pick.

Why? Because Moore gives defensive backs and defensive coordinators nightmares. In 2022, he was double covered at a ridiculous rate of 17.5%, more than twice his previous career high. For context, Moore was the only real aerial threat for the Panthers last season, so there might be some inflation. However, the bottom line is he demands attention, and the other receivers have to step up alongside him.

For players like Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool, who will settle into more appropriate roles, their goal is to reciprocate the value brought about by Moore. Mooney can finally focus on taking the top off the defense and Claypool can employ his imposing frame to make contested catches in traffic.

This is the type of role definition that has been lacking at Soldier Field for the last several years. But that’s all about to change, thanks to the kid from Philadelphia, PA.

Balance is restored.

Photo by Nam Y. Huh / AP Photo
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Matthew Lomon

Born in Mississauga, ON in the year 2000, Matthew Lomon grew up surrounded by sports as a fan and participant. He played baseball at both the AAA and Elite levels, travelling across Canada and the United States. After his playing career, Matthew attended Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson), graduating with distinction in the Spring of 2022 with a degree in Professional Communication.

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