Bears wide receiver DJ Moore came of age in the NFL with the Panthers, who had seven quarterbacks, three head coaches and five offensive coordinators in his five seasons.
So having only two targets in his first game with the Bears isn’t going to faze him.
“I didn’t make a big deal about it,” said Moore, who had two receptions for 25 yards in the Bears’ 38-20 loss to the Packers on Sunday in his Bears debut. “Green Bay pushed the coverage over to me sometimes. Sometimes things happen in the back end that I didn’t see. But it’s cool. I’m not too worried about it.”
It’s unlikely Moore forgot how to get open — or catch 75 balls for a thousand yards like he did in Carolina. The onus is on offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, quarterback Justin Fields and the Bears’ offensive line to be better Sunday against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
Moore said defenses focused on him during his five seasons with the Panthers, so that part of it wasn’t new. But they still found a way to get him the ball. He was held to two targets or fewer only twice in 73 starts with the Panthers — in 2019 against the Cardinals, when his only reception was a 52-yard touchdown in a 38-20 victory. The other time was in 2018, his second NFL start against the Buccaneers, a 42-28 victory.
“It’s tough, but it’ll get there,” Moore said. “We’ll get going.”
Moore and the Bears’ wide receiver corps was the focus of scrutiny following the loss to the Packers, in part because that was an area that general manager Ryan Poles made a point to upgrade. Moore at least produced two receptions with his two targets. But Chase Claypool had two targets with nary a catch. And his blocking was suspect as well.
Darnell Mooney had four receptions for 53 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown that gave the Bears some life, down 24-14 late in the third quarter. Promising rookie Tyler Scott had two receptions for 14 yards and earned the trust of receivers coach Tyke Tolbert.
Scott, who played 13 snaps against the Packers, could get a bigger opportunity against the Buccaneers — especially with the Bears needing to spread out the snaps in expected 90-degree heat.
“Tyler plays hard with the ball and without the ball,” Tolbert said. “He should have played a lot more. We had a couple of receivers that were [inactive]. So I should have rotated it more — that way you probably would’v seen less loafs by Chase; less loafs by Mooney, less loafs by everybody if I played and rotated it more. So it’s my job to get the Tyler Scotts of the world more playing time. That way the other guys can be more fresh and won’t have as many loafs.”
As for Claypool, the enigmatic former Notre Dame star has been a challenge for Tolbert since the Bears acquired him from the Steelers last year for a second-round draft pick that ended up being No. 32 overall. But Tolbert thinks he’s started to figure it out.
“Everybody has a button to be pushed a different way. His button is different from everybody else,” Tolbert said. “It’s my job to find that button. I think I found it. I met with him extra. He’s come in early. He’s been the first receiver in the meeting rooms all week long. He’s the most hustled receiver on the practice field the past two days. And [he’ll] hopefully go into the game with that same attitude.”