Bears QB Justin Fields building rapport with new wideout DJ Moore as he enters Year 3 (2023)

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Bears quarterback Justin Fields isn’t one to worry or make anything bigger than it needs to be. At least, not publicly.

Since he arrived in 2021, Fields has been even-keeled through a regime change and a host of new teammates.

So it wasn’t surprising to hear Tuesday that Fields did not spend time in the winter wondering about the possibility of the Bears moving on from him and drafting a quarterback No. 1.


“It’s awesome for me getting that trust from the coaching staff,” Fields said after Tuesday’s organized team activities practice at Halas Hall. “You guys don’t see it, but we communicate here all the time, we trust each other fully. Just having them behind me, they know the kind of leader I am to my teammates, they know how great I want to be, the work I put in. It’s just great to have them behind my back, for sure.”

We got to watch Fields and the full roster practice for the first time this offseason, and we heard from the quarterback for the first time since locker cleanout day in January as he prepares for his third season in the NFL.

Stability, for a change

Fields’ second offseason required learning a new playbook and acclimating to new coaches and players — not too dissimilar from being a rookie.

Now, Fields returns with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy in a scheme he knows.

“It’s the first season I’m going into where it’s my second year knowing the offense, so I definitely feel more comfortable in it, just with my reads … just seeing what the defense is doing,” he said. “It’s truly amazing when you have that feeling going in, knowing where your guys are going to be, more comfortable with the footwork stuff. It’s been great. I got to work on stuff in the offseason of what I needed to work on. Having that second-year experience from last year … with the same offense is great.”

It’s a common spring narrative: a quarterback with a familiar playbook. We’ve been through it before with Jay Cutler and Mitch Trubisky. Now it’s Fields who aims to benefit from some consistency for the first time in his NFL career.

From @adamjahns and me, on Bears QB Justin Fields and his potential.

Hear from Matt Eberflus, Jeff Joniak, Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III, Jim Miller, Tom Waddle and more

— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) May 22, 2023

The Fields-to-Moore connection

Tuesday’s practice ended with Fields connecting with DJ Moore on a deep ball.


“It was a double move — beat the guy,” Moore said. “Just played pitch and catch after that.”

The Bears’ first OTA was Monday, and Fields said most of those plays weren’t designed to go to Moore. Tuesday’s session featured the team’s new No. 1 receiver often.

“We had a lot of one-on-one backside stuff to him, so that was good to get on that same page,” Fields said.

Moore has been through this process before in Carolina, where he had to get up to speed with several new quarterbacks. He said that by the end of OTAs and minicamp, he expects to be on the same page, and then they have to get back into it at the start of training camp.

“He’s on par to be great for the season,” Moore said about Fields.

Bears QB Justin Fields building rapport with new wideout DJ Moore as he enters Year 3 (1)

Newcomer DJ Moore hopes to help Justin Fields and the Bears offense take a big step forward this year. (Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

Fields reflected on the phone call from general manager Ryan Poles in March that awoke him from a nap with the news of the Moore acquisition. Through a couple of months, Fields has seen what Moore can mean for the offense.

“Strength, speed, body control, great hands,” he said. “I think he knows how to use his body to get open. I think that’s a big part for receivers. He knows how to tip a route, so he’s rarely ever going to be running a hundred percent on all the routes; he has that second gear to go get the ball. I think that’s what makes him a great receiver, just his understanding of the coverages, seeing the defense well.”

Head coach Matt Eberflus said the first thing he noticed from Moore was his speed.

“Yesterday I was like, ‘Wow, there’s a different gear there,’” he said. “So, that was exciting to see yesterday and today.”

GO DEEPERHow Bears rookie Travis Bell became the first draft pick from Kennesaw State

Getting Claypool back on track

One of the bigger disappointments from the 2022 season was that wide receiver Chase Claypool, who wound up costing the Bears the No. 32 pick in the NFL Draft, wasn’t as impactful on the field as they hoped.

Poles and Eberflus have pointed to the challenge for receivers in getting up to speed during the season. After Tuesday’s practice, Eberflus said he’s seen Claypool “getting more comfortable adjusting.”


Fields was asked about what he’s working on technically this offseason, and he mentioned going through his progressions quickly, then referenced getting Claypool worked in more often.

“Chase has improved tremendously from the end of last year to now,” he said. “That’s one thing I’m truly proud to say, seeing his work ethic, his attitude change. You can just see he’s taking another step, so definitely excited for that.”

Other changes on offense

OTAs, which mark the first time teams can do 11-on-11 drills, meant the beginning of Fields working with a new — but old — center, Cody Whitehair.

“It’s been good,” Eberflus said. “Cody’s got a wealth of experience. He’s played the position before, so it’s not a stretch for him to be in there. But I think he feels more comfortable in there. I think anytime you go from guard and moving back to center, I think it just takes some time. But he’s doing a nice job.”

Fields also experienced his first practices with No. 10 pick Darnell Wright as his new starting right tackle. Fields called Wright a “great addition,” and Eberflus said he was impressed with how Wright retained what he learned at rookie minicamp earlier this month. Fields referred to new right guard Nate Davis as well when highlighting the additions, though Davis wasn’t present at Tuesday’s practice.

We also saw the offense featuring two tight ends: Cole Kmet and former Packer Robert Tonyan.

“Of course, Rob (Tonyan) came from this offense, so he’s already experienced with it,” Fields said. “He’s a great route runner, natural pass catcher. Just great to have him. I think him and Cole will definitely learn from each other.”

GO DEEPERThe Bears and Darnell Wright: A 5-part look at how a team falls in love with a draft prospect

Singular focus: Wins

Remember how Fields isn’t going to make anything bigger than it is or feed into any of our narratives?

Here he is, entering Year 3, with the backing of the front office and coaching staff and finally having a better complement of players around him. The Bears acquired Moore, Tonyan, Davis and running back D’Onta Foreman before selecting Wright in the draft, followed by running back Roschon Johnson and wide receiver Tyler Scott.


And Fields has all that at his disposal, knowing the Bears have to decide on whether to pick up his fifth-year option after 2023, which is also when Fields is first eligible for a contract extension.

“Every year’s a big year,” he said. “I don’t really have anything to expand on that. For me, every year’s a big year, and I’m excited to show it.”

But what about the contract situation?

“I’m not worried about contracts,” he said. “I’m worried about wins.”

(Top photo of Justin Fields: Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dan Stracke

Last Updated: 06/29/2023

Views: 6496

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dan Stracke

Birthday: 1992-08-25

Address: 2253 Brown Springs, East Alla, OH 38634-0309

Phone: +398735162064

Job: Investor Government Associate

Hobby: Shopping, LARPing, Scrapbooking, Surfing, Slacklining, Dance, Glassblowing

Introduction: My name is Dan Stracke, I am a homely, gleaming, glamorous, inquisitive, homely, gorgeous, light person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.