Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney started developing a connection at the start of last season. It wasn’t easy at first. The young QB never found the receiver much quicker in his first two high-action games against the Bengals and Browns. That changed against the Detroit Lions in Week 4. Fields hit Mooney five times for 125 yards on 25 yards per strike. It was the first indication that they could naturally agree. One is a fast receiver and the other is a gifted deep ball passer.
This chemistry continued to bloom in the following weeks. Unfortunately, he couldn’t finish strong thanks to Fields’ injury setbacks. Even so, the two entered the offseason knowing they had something to lean on. Months passed, with the two spending countless training sessions with each other. They practiced, threw hundreds of passing patterns to improve timing, then watched hours of footage. Fields quickly developed respect and admiration for Mooney’s incredibly hard work.
While this is happening, however, everyone continues to slander the receiver.
Members of the national media have repeatedly said Mooney isn’t a true No. 1 receiver. He may not even be a #2. Does this bother Fields? Not really. In fact, he explained why he hopes this continues during an interview on NFL Network.
“Just his work ethic. What he puts in, day after day. He pulls it all out. Every time he’s done training, he’s on the JUGGS. After meetings, late at night, he’s on the JUGGS. His work ethic is unmatched. It is awesome. A great leader and an even better person. I hope the teams will continue to sleep on him so, you know, they leave it alone, but he is definitely awesome.
Justin Fields remains a practical man at heart.
People said he was smart, and this comment proves it. He knows disrespect will benefit Mooney. The wide receiver thrived there for years. However, he also knows that teams have a tendency to fall into this trap that the media sets from time to time. If people on TV and radio keep saying that this or that player doesn’t deserve special attention, it becomes easier to believe. Knowing how dangerous Mooney is when covered one-on-one, it was particularly shrewd of him to feed the narrative during a media interview.
Both will be tested from the start this year. Week 1 will be against San Francisco, then the Green Bay Packers in Week 2. Both of those defenses have arguably two of the best secondaries in the NFL. If Justin Fields to Darnell Mooney wants to create some serious traction as one of football’s best combos, then shining in these competitions is a must. It’s a big year for both of them.
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