The Carolina Panthers did everything they could to avoid surrendering D.J. Moore in the trade for the #1 pick. They’d recently extended him with a new contract. It was obvious the organization loved him. However, the Chicago Bears were adamant. If the Panthers wanted a deal done quickly, they needed to include a top player in the package. Unwilling to surrender defensive tackle Derrick Brown or pass rusher Brian Burns, they had little choice. Moore had to be the one. GM Ryan Poles was elated when the agreement was reached.
He felt the young receiver was the exact player needed to help expand the Bears’ passing game. He had the ability to threaten down the field while showcasing a bevy of route-running skills to create separation. If anybody could help unlock Justin Fields as a passer, it’s him. This is the same guy that got 1,000-yard seasons out of Kyle Allen, Teddy Bridgewater, and Sam Darnold. By the sounds of things, he’s already working Bears defensive backs in OTAs, as Josh Shrock of NBC Sports Chicago noticed.
More is especially helping to fix one of the team’s biggest issues from last year.
Moore lined up in the slot against Kyler Gordon during a red-zone drill. The star wide receiver quickly created separation to gain inside leverage on a slant, and Fields put the ball in the perfect spot for Moore to make a diving catch in the end zone.
On a day in which the Bears focused a lot on run fits, normal downs, red zone, and some situational work, the Bears finished the day with a two-minute drill with the first-string offense starting around midfield.
On the first play, defensive tackle Jayln Holmes got by right guard Ja’Tyre Carter and flushed Fields to the left. Fields rolled out of the pocket and delivered a strike to Dante Pettis to get the offense into the red zone. Fields found Moore with a strike down to the 3-yard line on the ensuing play.
On first-and-goal, Fields had tight end Cole Kmet open on the left side, but the throw was low, and Kmet couldn’t corral it. The Bears punched through on the next play when Fields hit Pettis on a quick out to the left side for a touchdown.
D.J. Moore is making everything easier for Fields.
With the defense focused on him, others are able to make things happen. If Dante Pettis can take advantage of his presence, imagine what Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool will do. The same goes for Cole Kmet. Moore is what they call a multiplier. Even if he’s not the one always making the plays, his ability to draw coverages gives others more one-on-one opportunities. The same thing happened in Carolina. That is how Robbie Anderson went for over 1,000 yards a couple of years ago.
There is a long way to go before the Bears’ offense is ready to roll. Yet it’s already clear D.J. Moore is making them better. Fields being able to move the ball in the two-minute drill is something that didn’t happen much last season. Part of it was his inexperience in the offense, but another part was his receivers not making plays for him. That should change this year. Moore is the critical piece they were missing. This team will be fun to watch if things progress at their current pace.