Can Bears find way to unlock Mooney, Kmet in passing game?


LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Matt Eberflus knows the Bears' passing game is a concern. Yes, it's early, but it's imperative the Bears get Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney, and Cole Kmet clicking soon.

Eberflus said Wednesday that the Bears are working on tweaking the passing game. Fields has input with concepts he likes, but, for the most part, the onus falls on offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and his staff.

Fields' pass attempt numbers will take up a lot of oxygen in the room. Rightfully so. Anytime you ask your supposed franchise quarterback only to drop back 17 times (11 attempts), it will get attention.

But the biggest issue for the Bears' passing game right now is the invisibility of Mooney and Kmet. Through two games, Mooney has two catches for 4 yards, while Kmet hasn't caught a pass on two targets.

Both Mooney and Kmet botched opportunities in the Bears' Week 2 loss against the Packers.

Mooney ran the incorrect type of post route on a play-action deep shot that kept him and Fields from connecting. Meanwhile, Kmet dropped his lone target because he got his head around late.

Both instances are indicative of the issues facing the Bears' passing game. But neither pass-catcher is stressing at the moment.

"It's Week 2, so don't need to worry about it too much," Mooney said. "The team believes in me. Players believe in me, so whenever my opportunity will be there, I'll take advantage of it."

"Look, we're working through it," Kmet said. "I am going to remain optimistic like I always am about it. And we're just going to keep working every day and keep grinding through it. We have a bunch of guys who work their tails off every day and we're going to get this thing figured out."
But how do the Bears plan to get Mooney and Kmet involved? Given their overall lack of skill position talent, if Mooney and Kmet aren't producing at a high level, it won't matter how many times they let Fields rip it.
The offense simply won't be effective if Mooney and Kmet continue to be MIA.
Getting Mooney and Kmet more involved comes down to Getsy and his vision for the offense in a given week, something the Bears have supreme faith in.
"That's what Luke's here for," Kmet said. "I'm pretty sure he's going to do his job and handle his end of the deal and take care of that. I know they're trying to work that in.
"So, remaining optimistic with this all. And we're remaining optimistic with the pass game stuff. We're going to get this figured out."
Mooney knows his time will come. It's all about perspective and patience right now.
"Just continue to be me and just work," Mooney said. "All I can do is just continue to stay on the jugs, run routes, keep my conditioning up. Worry about what I can worry about. Then the opportunities are going to come.

"Like I said they believe in me, the players believe in me, my team believes in me. There is eventually going to be a time that I do get a ball or what not, when I take it to the crib then everyone is going to go, 'oh, there he goes.'"

Fields understands why there is concern over the state of the passing game.

Through two weeks, he has completed just 15 passes, attempted only 28, and has been hit on 42.3 percent of his dropbacks. The second-year quarterback is trusting the process, though. He's adamant that as long as the Bears leave Sunday with another notch in the win column, everyone will be happy regardless of the numbers.

"Selflessness," Fields said when asked why he doesn't get frustrated with only 11 attempts in a loss. "Knowing that if these are the plays that [Getsy] thinks are going to win us the game, then I'm all with it. Like I said about Darnell on Sunday, if he caught zero passes and won the game, he wouldn't have any problem. If I threw zero passes and we won the game, I wouldn't have any problems.
"Our goal as a team, as an offense is to win games. Nobody's looking at how many passes did I have, how many yards did I have. We're just all trying to win the game."
That's all well and good. But the best way for the Bears to win is to get the passing game going by unlocking Fields, Mooney, and Kmet.
Mooney and Fields stayed after practice for a good 30 minutes to rep plays that can make a difference Sunday against the Houston Texans. Kmet noted the buy-in from everyone on the offense as a reason frustration hasn't started to set in.
For now, there's no panic in the Bears' locker room. Everything will come together. At least, that's the belief.

"It's an emotional game," Mooney said. "Obviously, I'm a receiver. I want to catch the ball. I want the ball for sure, but you have to be a team guy as well. You have to understand what goes on. If things are working, things are working. If they not, then you can be frustrated and say something, but like I said, it's Week 2.

"People stressing too much."

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