The season has gotten off to about as bad of a start as the Chicago Bears could have anticipated, and no one has more at the forefront of the backlash than quarterback Justin Fields whole individual struggles might point to a broader systemic failure within the organization. But, in the NFL, the quarterback gets an inordinate amount of both praise and blame.
This opening stretch has certainly been rife with the latter for the dynamic Fields who has already been sacked 13 times and has thrown four interceptions to just three touchdowns for the 0-3 Bears.
With all of the vitriol directed at him, who does he turn to for solace?
“I think Mooney a lot, for sure,” Fields said ahead of Wednesday’s practice, referring to wide receiver Darnell Mooney. “He’s probably the main guy I just go and talk to, rap with.”
Bears’ Darnell Mooney to Justin Fields: ‘Don’t Worry About Anything’
Bears WRs Back Their QB
Mooney is one of 10 teammates Fields has had since his rookie season. Of those, six are on offense including two of his starting offensive linemen. But it’s not surprising that Mooney was the first name Fields mentioned. The two could be seen chatting after practice during the firestorm leading up to their Week 3 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
So, what are those leaders telling their teammates and Fields in particular?
“He’s not going through it alone. I mean, we’re all with him,” Mooney said after Friday’s practice. What I tell him is just, ‘Don’t worry about anything, man. All we can do is continue to push forward and worry about your individual self, and then have it all come [together] as a team.”
Mooney’s message is similar to Moore’s, who let Fields know the team is in his corner.
— Clocker Sports (@ClockerSports) September 29, 2023
“We all know Justin’s a great player,” wide receiver Chase Claypool said. “There’s no questioning that. Great players have bad games. And I know the public wants to freak out and be quick to call another quarterback in after two games. “There’s a lot of football left to be played.”
Fields was a staunch defender of Claypool’s this offseason and the wideout is showing the same confidence in him.
“I would never look at a game because I have bad games, [but] I’m not gonna say I’m a bad player. Everyone has bad games – that happens. It’s just how you bounce back, and I know he’s gonna bounce back with a really good week this week.”
Bears’ Darnell Mooney: ‘Have to Start Winning’
Fields was clear that it’s not just Mooney, and he talks to “a lot of guys,” highlighting something that has been said from the very beginning: a locker room of leaders.
“We have a lot of great leaders,” Fields said. “Talked to DJ a little this week, and just try to get the leaders of the offense and make sure everybody’s morale is up, and everybody’s determined to get a win.”
Mooney’s comments on the Bears’ 13-game losing streak — since last season — should resonate within the walls of Halas Hall.
“We definitely have to start winning some games,” Mooney, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, said. “It’s a domino effect from last year, just trying to wait until we start winning. But definitely have to start winning now, man. It’s definitely a frustrating thing to continue to keep losing.”
For the 0-3 Bears, the focus is not singling out one player. It is avoiding falling to 0-4 which would inevitably lead to the outside noise growing even louder.