DJ Moore advises Justin Fields to avoid forcing connections in search of more targets

DJ Moore doesn’t want Justin Fields to force connection in search of more targets originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Bears quarterback Justin Fields started feeding DJ Moore the ball from the minute the star wide receiver arrived at Halas Hall. The connection between Fields and Moore created an instant buzz during OTAs and reached a fever pitch during training camp.

Teammates called it “special” and pointed to “one and two” as the biggest reason for optimism for the Bears’ offense in 2023.

None of that came to fruition in the Bears’ Week 1 flop against the Green Bay Packers, as Moore caught just two balls on two targets in Chicago’s 38-20 loss.

Fields lamented being too “conservative” after the loss. He felt he should have given Moore more opportunities to make a play.

While some star receivers would make a scene or offer a passive-aggressive comment after the fact, Moore took it in stride. He’s not concerned about a one-game sample size and remains confident that he and Fields will find their way to the same page.

“I didn’t make a big deal out of it,” Moore said Friday at Halas Hall. “Green Bay pushed the coverage over to me sometimes. Sometimes things happen in the back end or behind us that I didn’t see. But it’s cool, I’m not too worried about it.”

Moore is used to teams shading the coverage toward him and trying to take him out of games. He’s the type of talent that makes an impact regardless as long as he’s given a chance.

Moore promised the Bears would figure it out while head coach Matt Eberflus harped on the importance of getting their best players the ball. Moore tops that list.

With a talent like Moore, Fields knows he needs to give the star receiver ample opportunities to make big plays, even if it’s a 50-50 ball.

To Moore’s credit, he doesn’t want Fields to get too focused on trying to get him the ball. He knows it will happen in the flow of the offense.

“You just go out there and do what we’ve been doing all OTAs, camp,” Moore said. “I’m not really too big on forcing the connection to just be there. You just got to be natural, like it was all through camp. When those times come, you got to have faith in me — 50-50 is more like an 80-20 ball, so that’s cool.”

The inability to get Moore the ball against the Packers was one of the biggest failures in a season-opening dud for the 2023 Bears.

But it’s just one game of 17, and they remain confident that Moore and Fields can still meet the high expectations set for them in the summer. It’s not time to panic.

“We’ll get it going,” Moore said.

That has to start Sunday against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that knocked off the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 and will send every blitz imaginable at Fields.

Teams that start 0-2 don’t typically make the playoffs. Since the 12-team playoffs began in 1990, 270 teams have started the season 0-2. Only 31 have gone on to make the playoffs, with last year’s Cincinnati Bengals being the only team to do so in the 17-game era.

Moore has dominated the Bucs in his career. In 10 career games against the Bucs, Moore has 58 catches for 766 yards and three touchdowns. Those are the most catches and yards he has against any team in his career.

The Bears need that trend to continue Sunday to wash the taste of the Packers loss out of their mouth and get back to .500.

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