Bears must find way to get ball to Mooney, Kmet


Where in the world are Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet? Coming into this season, it was widely expected that these two would be Justin Fields’ No. 1 and No. 2 pass-catching options in the Bears passing attack, but so far they’ve been invisible. On Sunday night, Kmet was targeted once, but dropped the ball. Fields only threw the ball Mooney’s way once, too, but Mooney caught his lone target. Only problem was Mooney was stopped well behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of four.

On the season, Kmet has no catches. Mooney has two for four yards total. Without watching the All-22 film, it’s hard to say why they weren’t able to produce against the Packers. Did they fail to create separation? Was the defense blanketing them? Did Fields simply miss them in his progressions? Whatever the reason, Matt Eberflus wouldn’t say the Bears need to force feed the duo moving forward, similar to how Matt LaFleur admitted the Packers needed to make a concerted effort to feed Aaron Jones after Week 1.

“No, I think whenever you have adversity, I think you look at all aspects, touches for players and how we’re distributing the ball,” Eberflus said. “I think that’s something we have to look at across the board.”

After the game, Fields said defenses are doing some things, at certain times, to take Mooney out of the play. Other times, Fields said Mooney is covered when he looks his way. Other than that, Fields had a simple answer for how to get Mooney more involved on offense.

“Call plays to get him the ball,” Fields said. “But that’s not our job. Our job is to get a play call and run it to the best of our abilities.”

Part of the problem is that Fields has only thrown 28 passes this season. With so few attempts, no man will have a ton of targets. Fields said he’d like to throw the ball more, but chalked it up to his competitive nature. He always wants the ball in his hands to make a play.

“Again, my job is to run the play that’s given to me the best that I can, so I don’t control any of that,” Fields said.

As for whether he’s noticed any frustration from Mooney, Fields said that’s not a part of his No. 1 wide receiver’s nature.

“Nah, he’s not a selfish guy,” Fields said. “He’s a team guy. If we win every game and he comes out with zero catches he could care less. He’s not that kind of guy.”

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has met several challenges head on this offseason. He’s worked to improve Fields’ mechanics, managed to get a ragtag offensive line to block up his wide-zone rushing scheme well, and has shown inventiveness with his play design. Mooney and Kmet’s lack of production has turned into any early obstacle though, and Getsy will have to figure out how to get both players going for the offense to take its next step.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us