Darnell Mooney, Javon Wims Display Clutch Tendencies
The wide receiver depth chart for the Bears has taken on a different look once the regular season began largely because of Darnell Mooney's speed and Javon Wims' development.
Mooney's three receptions for 38 yards and Wims' touchdown catch came about because they both sit higher now on the depth chart now than a player chose ahead of them in the draft, 2019 fourth-round pick Riley Ridley.
Mooney was a fifth-rounder and Wims a seventh-round pick. Ridley was inactive for Sunday's opener.
In particular, Mooney's speed has made a big difference and it was apparent when he lined up Sunday across from Lions defenders.
"As soon as I was getting out there, they were yelling speed, speed, speed," Mooney said.
It was much the same reaction Mooney received when he took the practice field for the Bears and noticed defenders playing immediately off of him.
Mooney caught a 19-yarder in the center of the field in the second quarter for his first NFL reception and his maturity within the offense has caught the eyes of Bears coaches since Day 1 of training camp.
"It's like he's a five-year veteran in this league already," wide receivers coach Mike Furrey said. "That game (Sunday) did not phase him one bit. We saw obviously the speed obviously that he provides to our offense, to our room. But I just think when you go back, you look at him as the player that he is, he's very mature and to have patience like that in a game, to put the jets on to get your depth for your first route in the NFL, you know you're getting the ball–I think that shows a really bright future for this young man."
Mooney made two 19-yard receptions and was caught at the line of scrimmage on the other reception. He thought he'd make the first catch as he lined up and saw the defensive coverage.
"We got the same look that we got in practice—it looked the same way," Mooney said. "I just knew I had to show my speed and they would respect that.
"During the route, I knew the ball would be there before I even broke. Just locate the ball and run my route, and make something happen after that."
Bears coach Matt Nagy saw the same maturity and mental acuity apparent all through camp, as well as calmness.
"The lights were not too bright for him (Sunday), not at all," Nagy said. "He caught the ball, went to his knees and had enough recognition to get back up and try to run.
"You saw the moves he made on his second catch on the left on the spin route. It was very encouraging to see where he’s at. We were kind of just trying to get a feel as to how much he can handle. It was only like 20 or 21 plays that he played. I would suspect for us to tell you without giving you a number we were really impressed with how he played and I think you’re going to definitely see more of him."
Wims had only a 1-yard catch but it was for a touchdown as Trubisky slid left along the line and saw the defense shift away to give him an open target.
"He's a guy now that can go to any position that we need him to," Furrey said. ""He can go in and serve as (Allen Robinson). He can go in and serve as (Anthony Miller), like when (Miller) went out (Sunday) for a little bit. He can play the Z position. And the cool thing right now is that he can play at all three of those positions at a high level.
"And I trust him. I think he's just finally scratching that surface of where he could possibly go in this league. We're gonna keep him going. Obviously, really pleased where he's at. Really proud of him, too, of how he's developed not just physically, but really as we all knew, mentally."
It was just a yard but Furrey thinks it can make a big difference for Wims, who had 22 career receptions starting the season.
"His arrow's definitely pointing up," Furrey said. "You get a big touchdown like that in a game, the first game of the season, that's gonna do nothing but continue to boost his confidence."