DJ Moore Is A Very Good Wide Receiver And I Can’t Wait To See Him Play

| August 3rd, 2023

Based on reports from around Chicagoland, the offense struggled in yesterday’s practice — so much so that Justin Fields mentioned in his presser that “It’s really good to have days like this.” and that in his opinion it’s good for the offense to go through adversity in these early stages of training camp.

Here’s my issue: I don’t want to wet blanket everyone else’s wet blanket attitude, but we’re talking about football practice. This builds on Tuesday’s article, but the toughest part about this time of year is how much we, as outside observers, could never know about what’s going on in practice.

Is Justin Fields working with new throwing mechanics for the first time? Is Fields going out of his way to force tighter-window throws than usual in effort to get comfortable on gotta-have-it throwing downs? Would he have attempted these throws if he wasn’t wearing his red jersey? If he would’ve, does that make the practice picks (that many NFL pundits think are a consistent sign of pushing limits in Training Camp) better or worse?

Personally, this week has felt full of unnecessary hand-wringing by anxious Bears fans — I get it, we’re all dying to know whether Justin Fields has taken that elusive QB “next step” or not, but unfortunately we’re going to see our answer displayed on the practice field over the next few weeks.

Procedurally, I like hearing that the Bears are working Fields as a pure passer (sounds as if they aren’t letting him scramble in 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 drills and the defense isn’t leaving a spy to cover him, which tests Fields’ arm as much as possible) and trust that they’re doing all they can to help him succeed at all levels. Whether he does or not is up to him.

In the meantime, I treated myself to a bit more of DJ Moore’s tape and had a lot of fun digging up gems. Here’s a few of my favorites:

1. DJ Moore is the whole package as a WR, and on this route he:

  • Beats his CB across his face
  • Powers through contact as he releases
  • Bursts downfield before recognizing the pass is underthrown
  • Stiff-arms his DB downfield to subtly push off and create a football-sized bucket for Darnold to throw into, which he collects for the TD.

He’s the real deal, should be fun next year.

2. For a “smaller” guy, DJ Moore is outrageously physical and rarely gets bothered by contact downfield. This can lead to everything from spectacular contested catches (pictured below), broken tackles (also below), and plenty of separation as a route runner.

3. This play is much more fun than meets the eye — Moore is the 2nd read here, but he and PJ Walker have established enough of a connection that when Walker’s eyes find him over the middle, Moore keeps his feet moving towards space along the sidelines and Walker fits a ball past a linebacker into his hands. A great showing of trustworthy WR play (as well as arm talent from the backup QB) that I’m sure Justin Fields will take note of for next year.

4. DJ Moore’s body control is wild. After a nice hesitation route gets him tons of separation downfield, Moore quickly adjusts to PJ Walker’s throw out of bounds and comes a minor bobble away from the catch of the week. Don’t you love having a receiver that can widen his catch radius?

Your Turn: What do you expect from Moore in the 2023 season?

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