Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney have put in the work this offseason to build up their rapport. There’s no substitute for sublime chemistry on the field, so the pair have worked out together throughout the year to develop the relationship required to play in-sync. That work is starting to pay off, and Mooney says he’s started to lock in with his quarterback. More and more he knows what Fields wants to do, not only with the offense, but with the team as a whole.
“Recently we were in the Walter Payton Center just throwing the ball around and it just felt like every ball that we were throwing and catching, it was just like connecting,” Mooney said. “It wasn’t too much to it. We were out there doing our thing. It felt good, it felt natural. It wasn’t too much talking. Playing music and just working out, so it was just natural. I mean, I loved it.”
As Mooney gets to know Fields better and better, he’s beginning to get a true sense of his aspirations too. Everyone knew Fields had the drive to be great, but apparently great isn’t good enough for the Bears QB.
“He wants to take over the league,” Mooney said. “He’s already Justin Fields. He wants to be the best quarterback in the league. He’s taken the strides to be there. I’ve got unbelievable faith that he will be there, and his success is my success. So as long as he’s doing good, I’m doing good, we’re all doing good.”
That drive has motivated Mooney to work even harder. It also fostered an environment where Mooney feels comfortable holding Fields accountable if need be— although Mooney says that isn’t often since Fields holds himself to such a high standard already. The same is true when Fields speaks to Mooney.
“We have this little competition going on sometimes,” Mooney said. “One day, we came in on a Friday. As you know, we do Monday through Thursday. We came in on a Friday, and we’re just lifting and lifting, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, you can leave now. We’re done working out.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not leaving, you’re leaving.’ And then at one moment, he had left, I'm like, ‘I’m not letting him get this.’ He comes back out of nowhere, I'm like, ‘Yeah, I’m still working.’ I end up getting something to lay down to get some soft tissue, and then he leaves and he thinks I'm just getting soft tissue. Then I go back and work out and I'm like, ‘No, you didn’t get me today like you thought.’ And then he ended up coming back. So, that type of work ethic and that mindset, it’s definitely going to pay off for sure.”
It’s not a one-way street either. Fields has fed off of Mooney’s energy, as well.
“He honestly makes me want to do more, just seeing how much he works, how hard he works,” Fields said. “It’s kind of contagious. So really just getting more guys around us, letting them see how hard we work. I think them seeing that will just make them want to work. So it’s definitely been good.”
That work has yet to pay off on the field. The practices that media have been privy to have been filled with sloppy offensive play, interceptions and balls hitting the ground. Although neither Mooney nor Fields seem concerned about that yet. Guys are still learning the playbook, so they’re not fully comfortable in the offense.
“I'm not ready for the season to start,” Fields said. “I'm the type of guy that would like to know I'm prepared. So, right now, I'm just being honest, we're not ready to play a game right now. And when that time comes, we will be ready.
“With the concepts that we have, with the players we have, I think everybody's catching on pretty quick. Like I said, they're throwing a lot at us right now, so, as long as we can manage to do everything right, or do most of everything right and not make the same mistake again, I think we'll be just fine when that time comes around.”