Who is Justin Fields gonna throw to?
That has been one of the most persistent questions this offseason surrounding the Chicago Bears. Everybody knew it was a question mark going into the break, especially with Allen Robinson’s much predicted departure. Now with training camp nearly here, we get to see who Fields is forming bonds with.
Darnell Mooney will most likely be a continued favorite target for Fields. Last season, Mooney reeled in 81 receptions on 140 targets for 1,055 yards; that accounts for 26.7% of the total targets for the Bears. Just for a little context, there were just six NFL teams last year who had a single receiver account for 26.7% or more of their targets. Those teams and players (plus their records for fun) are:
- Chicago Bears (6-11): Darnell Mooney (26.7%)
- Green Bay Packers (13-4, L in Div. Round): Davante Adams*+ (29.6%)
- Minnesota Vikings (8-9): Justin Jefferson* (28.8%)
- Carolina Panthers (5-12): D.J. Moore (28.3%)
- Seattle Seahawks (7-10): D.K. Metcalf (27.2%)
- Los Angeles Rams (12-5, Super Bowl Champs): Cooper Kupp*+^ (31.7%)
* Selected to Pro Bowl
+ First-Team All-Pro
^ Offensive Player of the Year
So of those six teams, four finished below .500 and missed the playoffs, one lost in their first playoff game, and the other actually went the distance. Now of course receiver usage is not the sole contributor to a W-L record, but it’s an interesting thought that only two of the league’s better teams (aka playoff teams) relied as heavily on one receiver as the Bears did with Mooney.
What I’m getting at here is that unless Mooney turns into a top two or three receiver in the league (hey, anything is possible), the Bears and Fields should look to spread the ball around a bit more this upcoming year. Training camp is gonna be the place the team tries to figure this out; Cole Kmet, Velus Jones Jr., Equanimeous St. Brown, or Bryon Pringle are all viable options to take some of the load off of Mooney, and it will be interesting following who Fields grows a connection with at camp.
How do you see the target share shaping up in 2022 for the Bears?