The DJ Moore effect at Bears training camp has been well documented this summer. For the first time in a few years the Bears have a No. 1 wide receiver that looks every bit the part of a No. 1 wide receiver.
It wouldn’t have been surprising if it took Moore a bit of time to get his bearings at Halas Hall. After all he’s playing for a new team for the first time in his short career, and growing pains that come with a big change like that aren’t uncommon. Moore hasn’t had many hiccups, if he’s had any at all, though.
Bears backup quarterback P.J. Walker played with Moore for three seasons in Carolina, and joined him as a new Bears this offseason. So, around these parts Walker knows Moore better than most, and Walker said he’s not surprised at all that Moore caught on with Fields quickly.
“He’s an easy target to throw to,” Walker said. “You’ve just got to put the ball around him. That’s something I really stand on, just putting the ball around him and letting him go out there and make plays. You can throw it high, throw it low, he’s gonna go out there and make a play for you.”
That’s part of the reason why Walker says Moore is a quarterback’s best friend, and why every quarterback needs a guy like Moore to ensure success on the field.
“He’s one of those guys that you’ve got to find out there on the football field,” Walker said. “If a play is called for him and he’s partially covered, you can still give him an opportunity to go make that play.”
That’s something Walker has tried to impress upon Justin Fields, as Fields continues to develop not only his relationship with Moore, but as Fields develops as a passer as well. Rarely will players get as open as they did for Fields at Ohio State, but top-flight wide receivers like Moore can win even when it looks like they’re covered, so Walker encourages Fields to throw the ball to Moore even when it looks like it will be a contested catch.
Moore is able to make an impressive catch more often than not because of his elite body control. He can use that body control to both set up a cornerback and create separation with a double move, or use that body control to make a grab and hold onto the ball in small windows.
He’s also an incredibly heady player.
“He’s just one step ahead of everything,” said fellow wide receiver Tyler Scott. “He kinda sees things before they happen.”
Walker said Luke Getsy’s scheme is similar to what he and Moore played in with the Panthers, which helped them make the transition. That familiarity, paired with Moore’s natural instincts, help him know what moves to use and when to use them.
“He just seems to have a feel for what’s going on around him,” Scott said.
“When you get a guy that’s a football player, that understands the ins and outs of everything that is going on on the field and that can understand coverages, zones and man, and technique and leverage,” said Walker. “That’s the best thing that you can have as a quarterback from a receiver.”