Justin Fields says he has confidence in Bears’ wide receivers

Justin Fields

Justin Fields has taken quickly to the role of team leader on the Chicago Bears. Unlike last year this time, when Fields was a rookie who former coach Matt Nagy said wouldn’t have an opportunity to unseat veteran quarterback Andy Dalton for the starting job, the Bears are Fields’ team in 2022. And he’s acting like it.

In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Fields came to the defense of Chicago’s wide receivers. It’s a position group that’s been blasted all offseason by analysts who think the Bears haven’t done enough to provide Fields with the weapons he needs to succeed in his second year. What matters most, however, is what Fields thinks.

“We don’t have an Odell [Beckham Jr.] or a Cooper Kupp on our team, but at the end of the day I think if everybody is on their P’s and Q’s, and we’re on top of everything and not making mistakes, the players we have right now are good enough,” Fields told Bleacher Report. “The front office thinks that, too. The fans outside of the facility, they don’t know what’s going on at practice. Just because we don’t have a big-name guy, doesn’t mean those guys aren’t talented. I have plenty of confidence in myself and my teammates that we’re going to get the job done.”

Bears’ biggest moves at WR didn’t involve big-name players

Byron Pringle

Byron Pringle is the most noteworthy free-agent addition at wide receiver this offseason. After spending his career as a backup with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bears are banking on him breaking out in a bigger role. Still, it’s not like he’s a sure thing. His contract is proof of that, too. General manager Ryan Poles inked him to a one-year, $6 million contract; hardly top-of-the-market money.

Velus Jones Jr. was the biggest investment the Bears made at receiver in the 2022 NFL draft. Chicago chose him with the 71st overall pick, which many draft analysts view as a reach. But Jones’ top-shelf traits should complement incumbent Darnell Mooney and the cast of veterans competing in a cage match for meaningful reps during training camp.

“He’s going to pick up a lot of yards and is physical,” Fields said of Jones. “He’s almost like a running back at receiver. Having him on the outside and putting the ball in his hands and letting him work will be great.”

Justin Fields is a big fan of Darnell Mooney… and winning

Darnell Mooney

As for Mooney, Fields developed a strong rapport with the third-year pro in 2021. They’ve built on that foundation this offseason spending time together in Georgia working out.

“He’s already talented; he’s fast and has great hands,” Fields said of Mooney. “On top of that, he works harder than anybody I know other than myself. A couple nights ago, we were in the facility until 12:30 a.m. going through plays and walking through plays for the next day at practice.”

Perhaps, the Bears already have their WR1 in place with Mooney. And by the time the 2022 season ends, what looks like a weak position group could morph into a strength because of Mooney’s ascent. There’s a realistic chance he will emerge as one of the NFL’s top-15 receivers this year; there’s no reason he can’t earn a reputation similar to Washington Commanders star Terry McClaurin.

The offseason narrative around this team has been rotten. From speculation that Poles doesn’t believe in Fields to the suggestion that Fields should strategize a plan out of Chicago before the Bears ruin his career. None of it has merit, and it’s obvious Fields’ state of mind is exactly where it needs to be as training camp looms.

“I’m just trying to win,” he said.

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