Five Matchups to Watch: 4 Darnell Mooney V. Charvarius Ward

September 9, 2022  (8:06 PM)

There may not be another receiver on the Bears roster that has built more chemistry with quarterback Justin Fields than Darnell Mooney. Mooney led the Bears in receptions, targets, and receiving yards in 2021 and after a strong offseason hopes to make the next leap in this upcoming season. It has been rumored that the 49ers newest corner, Charvarius Ward could be shadowing Mooney in the home opener.

Charvarius Ward:
Ward was San Francisco's newest addition to the secondary and the team's marquee signing this past offseason. Ward signed a 3-year 42 million dollar contract after spending the past four seasons as a Chief. Despite only having four career interceptions Ward has done well in his first four years in the league. According to PFF, there is not a player with more incompletions forced in press coverage since 2020 other than Saints Pro Bowl corner Marshon Lattimore. Ward does also come up and plays the run well and is an above-average tackler at his position, this is an underrated skill, and many corners struggle with being a clean tackler. Sunday will be Ward's first time going up against Mooney and should be a battle worth keying in on.
Darnell Mooney:
Mooney is ready to pick right up where he left off in 2021 and silence the doubters that he is capable of becoming a WR1. Being a 5th round selection out of Tulane and a strong start to his career Mooney has already proved many people wrong. Mooney has sub-4.3 speed, is a clean route runner, and has improved on his ability to go up and get the ball. Mooney is coming off a career-best season where he saw 140 targets, Mooney finished the season with a stat line of 81-1055-4. For much of this off-season, it was promising for Bears fans to see the chemistry and relationship between Mooney and Fields. The expectations for the former Tulane product are rising and we should soon be able to see if all the extra reps and rapport built with Fields are set to pay off.
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