The Chicago Bears don’t have a universally approved superstar at wide receiver in 2022. What they do have, however, is one of the hardest workers at the position. Darnell Mooney’s known work ethic and desire to be great are two of his biggest strengths. He’ll rely on both traits as he embarks on the most challenging season of his career, one in which he’ll replace Allen Robinson as the Bears’ go-to guy.
“I’m ready for whatever anybody brings to me,” Mooney told Ehsan Kassim of The Gadsden Times from his youth football camp. “I’m ready for any task, any type of defense that we’re seeing, whatever it is, anyway, I can help the team. You know, if I get double-teamed, I’ll be a decoy for the team so everybody else can be open. I mean, I’m good with that. Any way I can help win.”
Mooney’s aforementioned work ethic is a big reason why there’s confidence in his ability to handle a more significant role. His offseason efforts with quarterback Justin Fields — who shares a similar love for the grind — are setting the duo up for a big year.
“We get to work every time, every chance we get for sure,” Mooney said of his workouts with Fields. “Like, any off-time, any time after practice. I mean, we continuously work nonstop.”
Darnell Mooney should set career-highs in 2022
The best quarterback-receiver tandems are the ones that share the same figurative brain. Bears fans experienced this first-hand every time Chicago faced the Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wideout Davante Adams were always on the same page, regardless of coverage, down and distance, or when there was a breakdown in protection. Rodgers always knew what Adams was thinking, and that level of trust made them one of the most dynamic duos in recent NFL history.
Now’s probably a good time to sneak a fist pump, knowing Bears defenders will never have to defend another Rodgers-to-Adams pass. Fields and Mooney have a long way to go before they become one of the NFL’s top tandems; they’re working to get there.
Mooney ended the 2021 season setting career-highs in receptions (81) and yards (1,055). He tied his rookie year total of four touchdown catches. With Fields the unquestioned starter to begin the 2022 season, Mooney is an excellent bet to threaten 100 receptions and more than 1,300 yards this year.
“I’m not satisfied yet,” Mooney said. “I don’t plan on getting satisfied yet. I have a lot more in the tank that has been hidden. Hopefully, I can let all of that out this year.”
Bryan is the founder and managing editor of Bears Talk. His previous stops include Bears coverage for NBC Sports Chicago and USA Today. His NFL Draft and Bears coverage has also been featured on The Draft Network.