Chicago Bears Could Have ‘Major Issues’ With Star Wideout

Bears Major

The Chicago Bears’ inability to generate offense is leading to premature questions about players such as Darnell Mooney. Through two regular season games, the Bears have just 28 passing attempts. For context, 32 other quarterbacks have thrown more passes than Justin Fields. 29 other passers have completed more passes than he has attempted.

Jimmy Garoppolo has already thrown 21 passes for the San Francisco 49ers. He did not throw a pass until the end of the first quarter in Week 2.

Volume aside, Mooney has still made up just 17% of Fields’ targets.

Darnell Mooney’s Lack of Production a Potentially ‘Major’ Issue for Bears

Stars Aligned for Mooney

Through Week 2 and with the Bears sitting at 1-1, Mooney has not only been missing from the offense. He has seemingly been an afterthought in the gameplan with his minuscule share of the targets – two catches for four yards on five targets – among a thin set of weapons at Fields’ disposal.

“To put that in perspective,” writes Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay, “at this point last year, Mooney already had 11 catches for 92 yards on 15 targets. He never had a single game in 2021 with fewer yards than he’s tallied over the first two weeks of this season.”

 

Mooney said that he wants to prove his value as a top wideout this season.

But he is also very much a team-first player whose main concern is getting the win over individual stats.

The Bears were headed for a split from last year’s top option, Allen Robinson, regardless of what happened with Mooney. But Mooney’s strong finish to last season seemed to portend a big leap in Year 3, explains Kay.

“Fields had his first full offseason preparing as the team’s starter and got in plenty of work with Mooney during training camp, Robinson had departed in free agency, and no high-end replacement pass-catchers were brought in to take targets away from the up-and-coming receiver.”

Mooney finished last season with his first 1000-yard campaign catching 81 passes and four touchdowns in the process.

He worked as the top option all summer but it is not as if he is the only one not producing.

Aggravating Mitigating Factors

“The team is averaging the fewest yards in the league overall at 216 per game, with its 76.5 passing yards per game largely responsible for this. That average isn’t even half of what the No. 31st-ranked squad has been generating through the air.”

Kay goes on to explain the weather has played a part in the Bears’ lack of passing. Fields has also been sacked five times and taken off to run 19 times in two games with some of those coming on scrambles. That would almost certainly boost the team’s passing numbers overall and, presumably, Mooney’s production right along with it.

Fields has also been inaccurate ranking third in bad pass percentage behind Dak Prescott and Trae Lance whose injury last week paved the way for Garoppolo.

At the same time, Fields has been pressured at the seventh-highest rate this season. This is despite the Bears boasting the league’s best Pass Block Win Rate to this point in the season, per ESPN.

Potential Week 3 Breakout

“Mooney will get a chance to bounce back against the Houston Texans in Week 3. If he can’t get it going against a defense that has given up 270.5 yards per game through the air this year, the Bears will have some major issues to sort out.”

Everyone from Fields to his coaches is acutely aware of the struggles.

But it’s not just that a weaker opponent is on the schedule after facing two teams ranked in ESPN’s preseason top-10 to open the season.

It’s that everyone is acutely aware of the offense’s struggles. Despite an effective running game, this offense will be tough to watch until they can find a rhythm between Fields and his pass-catchers.

There are many theories on how they can go about that. But it has to happen.

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