Mon, 29 Nov 2021

Quick Hits: Mooney taking big strides in Year 2

Chicago Bears
26 Nov 2021, 00:37 GMT+10

Larry Mayer

The Bears offense has struggled this season, but one bright spot has been the continued growth of second-year receiver Darnell Mooney.

The 2020 fifth-round pick from Tulane leads the Bears in all receiving categories with 41 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns. He delivered his second 100-yard performance of the season in last Sunday's 16-13 loss to the Ravens, catching five passes for 121 yards and one TD.

"The thing I'll say about Darnell Mooney is his mindset," said offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. "He just loves football, businesslike approach, professional approach, does not get distracted. I've never seen the guy get distracted from his job. The guy is focused on his job and being a great player. I really can't say enough of how impressed I am by his mindset."

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The Bears trailed the Ravens 6-0 early in the third quarter when Mooney provided a major spark, turning a short pass from Andy Dalton into an electrifying 60-yard touchdown.

"The first thing is he wants to be really good," Dalton said. "Add that to his ability, and I think it's showing. There's a big jump usually from Year 1 to Year 2, just being comfortable in an offense and being comfortable playing and understanding what you're doing, and you've seen the strides he's taken this year."

On the mend: Lions coach Dan Campbell said Tuesday that he's "leaning toward" starting Jared Goff Thursday against the Bears and that the quarterback likely will be a gameday decision. Goff sat out last Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Browns with an oblique injury he sustained a week earlier in a 16-16 tie with the Steelers.

In the Bears' 24-14 win over the Lions Oct. 3 at Soldier Field, Goff completed 24 of 38 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and a 105.0 passer rating.

Injury update: The Bears held a walk-through Tuesday, but had they conducted a full practice, quarterback Justin Fields (ribs), receiver Allen Robinson II (hamstring), running back Damien Williams (calf) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (ankle) would have been unable to participate. Mooney (foot) and safety Eddie Jackson (hamstring) would have been limited.

Roster moves: The Bears on Tuesday promoted defensive end Margus Hunt from the practice squad to the active roster, placed nickel back Duke Shelley on injured reserve and re-signed kicker Brian Johnson to the practice squad.

Hunt has appeared in three games this season, recording four tackles and one tackle-for-loss. He originally was signed to the practice squad Sept. 8. Born in Estonia, Hunt joined the Bears having appeared in 104 NFL games with 26 starts in nine seasons with the Bengals (2013-16 and 2020), Colts (2017-19) and Saints (2020), registering 114 tackles, 26 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks. The 6-8, 295-pounder was selected by Cincinnati in the second round of the 2013 draft out of SMU.

Shelley sustained a hamstring injury while covering a punt midway through the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the Ravens. This season he has played in nine games with three starts, compiling 31 tackles and three pass breakups. Since being selected by the Bears in the sixth round of the 2019 draft out of Kansas State, Shelley has appeared in 29 games with five starts, registering 45 tackles and four pass breakups.

Johnson signed with the Bears this year as an undrafted free agent from Virginia Tech. He opened the season on the practice before being signed by the Saints. In four games, he made all eight field goals he attempted but missed three of eight extra points. Johnson was waived by New Orleans last Friday.

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