Why I Wouldn’t Want to Shut Fields Down Entirely, NFC North Youth Movement, Mooney in Good Spirits, and Other Bears Bullets

bears Darnell mooney Justin fields
bears Darnell mooney Justin fields

After a lengthy three-day stretch of rodding out the kitchen drains came to an end on Wednesday, I took my pops out to breakfast. Once in a while, it’s nice to have that morning out where someone else makes that first meal of the day. And as an added bonus, the coffee was extra strong. Just what I needed.

  • The injury news in Bearsland has been a big stinker this week. And while it isn’t much of a consolation, I find it refreshing that Darnell Mooney is apparently “in good spirits” according to Justin Fields:
  • Mooney didn’t have the breakout year we were hoping he’d have, as he’ll finish with just 40 catches, 493 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns. But he is still a key cog in this thing. And not just because the numbers would look good if you extrapolate stats from his last eight games before injury at a per 17-game rate (76 catches, 990 yards, 4 TD per 17 games). Mooney is a favorite Fields target (which helps) but is also a team leader. His work ethic stands out as an example for teammates to follow. And that shouldn’t be lost on anyone. Mooney will be missed down the stretch from a production standpoint, but also from a leadership role.
  • Had things gone swimmingly for Mooney this year, I’d have been ready to sit down and bang out a thousand words on what an extension could look like. That is a little harder to do after the season he had come to a close with an injury. But it is still something I’d like to explore. Mooney has one year left on his contract and I’d like to see him stick around. I don’t imagine he’ll demand a top-of-the-market rate, but he should get a hefty pay raise. Browsing through some recent deals, I wonder if Tim Patrick’s 2021 extension with the Broncos (3/$30M with $18.5M in guarantees) would pique Mooney’s interest. Or on the higher end of things, is Courtland Sutton’s Denver deal (4/$60M with $34.9M in guarantees) more in line with what an extension looks like? Again, it is hard to hash out with the season shortened to injury hanging overhead.
  • While Mooney is out, it would be nice to see Chase Claypool grab the torch and run with it:
  • Of course, he’ll need to be healthy first. Claypool was limited in practice with a knee issue. If he doesn’t string together some full participation practices before week’s end, then his status to play against the Packers will be up-in-the-air. But whenever Claypool is ready to go from a health standpoint, he should be targeted early and often by whomever lines up behind center for the Bears.
  • This is not the start to Packers Week anyone was wanting to experience. A few weeks ago, we were looking forward to seeing what the Bears could do a second time around against Green Bay. The offense was functioning, Fields was flourishing, and the entire thing was growing. But Fields’ shoulder issue and the injury fallout from playing at MetLife Stadium last week has turned this thing on its ear. What a bummer.
  • I love this nugget showing Fields’ growth:
  • There is a belief in some circles that Fields can’t learn from the sidelines. And, eys, I’d rather him take his developmental steps on the playing surface. However, there is stuff to take in when you’re on the sidelines. Or in film study. And even at practice. This is why I found it neat to hear that the lightbulb went off for Fields when it came to a checkdown play to Darrynton Evans. Do we love Fields’ improvisational skills? Yes. But we’d also dig it if once in a while he could dump it off to someone who makes a play for him. I know it feels like Fields has to do it all right now. But there should come a day when his teammates lend a helping hand.
  • There is a popular sentiment to shut Fields down entirely. And this tweet is why I don’t want it to happen:
  • As I was saying before, there is still growth to be made even if Fields doesn’t play. We should keep that in mind as we discuss Fields’ future for the rest of the 2022 season.
  • On the other side of the field, we have a quarterback story that can be told in two tweets:
  • Aaron Rodgers’ “I own you taunt” isn’t forgotten around here, as Mark Potash (Sun-Times) notes. But I wish it would go away. Heck, I wish Rodgers would go away. Preferably forever.
  • If Rodgers really owns the Bears, he needs to get to work on accelerating the Arlington project. Otherwise, he doesn’t own diddly squat.
  • I’m a sucker for seeing pro teams give back during the holiday season:
  • Kay Adams is magic:
  • The biggest winner in Ryan Pace failing to trade for Russell Wilson is us, because I have minimal interest in following Russ and Ciara’s birthday party shindigs like Mike Klis apparently has to do in a lost season for the Broncos:
  • The NFC North’s representation here reminds me that this division has potential to be a dog fight in the future:
  • I’ll be taking the Bears’ bye week in California, just in time for MLB’s Winter Meetings. Maybe I’ll drop in for funsies because it sounds like it will be FUN:
  • The Bulls once promised to pick Chandler Hutchison. And to their credit, they fulfilled that promise. Unfortunately, Hutch stunk it up with the Bulls. Yesterday, he apparently retired:
  • Sign ’em all, Blackhawks:
  • written by

    Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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