When the Chicago Bears host the Cincinnati Bengals in week 2, wide receiver Darnell Mooney will be a name to watch as a player who can be a reason the Bears finally get in the win column. Mooney, who totaled five receptions for 26 yards, averaging 5.20 yards per reception. Labeled as a breakout candidate heading into 2021, the Bengals provide Mooney with the perfect opportunity to have a big game, further cementing his status as the Bears WR2.
“They play in your face, man-to-man, a little zone here and there but I mean, they’re not going to hide anything,” Mooney said via the Bears official YouTube Channel. “There’s some opportunities out there, for sure, this week.”
Assessing the Cincinnati defense, Mooney will likely be matched up against Chidobe Awuzie throughout the game. Assisting Awuzie will be Safeties Jesse Bates III and Vonn Bell, both of whom will provide extra assistance whenever Mooney is asked to run deep. To fully utilize Mooney’s talent, Bears head coach Matt Nagy also needs to give Mooney the opportunity to make plays by calling plays that will require quarterback Andy Dalton to throw the ball beyond 15 yards, dialing up deep shots to keep Cincinnati’s defense guessing on every single play.
“No pressure at all, I mean I’m just going out there, trying to play my game and win the game,” Mooney said. “Regardless of what numbers are there are expected out of me, I mean, I’m trying to get, I’m trying to get dominant.”
Mooney’s rookie season showed promise to warrant a major breakout season in year two. While his production in week 1 wasn’t necessarily the best, as the Bears prepare for the Bengals, Mooney will have a major opportunity to flip the script, especially with more consistent play from the quarterback position, something that was showcased at times in week 1 for the Bears.