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DJ Moore continues to dazzle at Family Fest practice

Bears receiver DJ Moore
Bears receiver DJ Moore

It seems like DJ Moore always has a smile on his face.

If the veteran receiver performs this season like he has throughout training camp—and especially in Sunday's Family Fest practice at Soldier Field—all of Bears nation will be grinning ear-to-ear as well.

"He's just quicker than I thought he was," said coach Matt Eberflus. "He really captures space well and separation. Those are the things that I see out there."

No Bears player has consistently produced more impact plays this summer than Moore, a sixth-year pro who was acquired from the Panthers in a blockbuster trade along with four draft picks in exchange for the No. 1 overall selection. 

The 5-10, 210-pounder displayed his playmaking ability Sunday. First, he snared a pass from Justin Fields on a crossing pattern to pick up a first down on third-and-8, sustaining a two-minute drive. 

"That was a conversion because he was able to twirl around there, split two and get vertical and he made it by a couple yards," Eberflus said. 

"It was zone coverage, so I got to sit out there," Moore said. "I had an in-breaking route, so I just sat out there. Being on the same page with everybody that was on the field at the time, we just played pitch and catch. I had to go get the first [down], and I knew where I was on the field and made one person miss and got the first."

Late in practice, Moore hauled in a touchdown pass from Fields in the back of the end zone by reaching back across his body with safety Elijah Hicks draped all over him.

"I was just running the back-end line," Moore said. "There was somebody in front of me, so I just made him go even further and then I was looking to see if I saw Justin. We were on the same page. He put the ball on my back shoulder, and I just made the play." 

"That catch at the end," Eberflus said, "the ability to stop, put his right foot in the ground, come back falling down and make the play, that's concentration and quickness and the ability that he has."

The wow plays Moore has been making this summer are nothing new. He joined the Bears after catching 364 passes for 5,201 yards and 21 touchdowns in 80 games over five NFL seasons with the Panthers. That's an average of more than 72 receptions and 1,040 yards per year. 

"I've just been the same me," Moore said. "I don't know what else to be besides me. At the end of the day, that's what I'm going to do. I bring excitement to the team. I guess it's on a bigger platform now, so I guess everybody is excited and I'm going to just keep running with it." 

A key factor in Moore's success this summer has been the chemistry he's developed with Fields. In addition to participating in the offseason program, the two worked together in Florida along with other Bears teammates.  

"It came on faster than I think we both thought," Moore said. "But it's good to see a lot of trust went into it at first because we always used to ask questions back and forth. So now that we get live reps, it comes to fruition."

Another positive development in practice has been the recent emergence of a second receiver in Chase Claypool as a regular contributor in the passing game. 

"He's made a big impression," Moore said. "Chase is somebody that goes out there and balls out every day. He might have a clear route, and he's just going to take somebody down the field no questions asked and just do it as fast as he can."

With the potential to create explosive pass plays the Bears appear to have, there could be a lot more smiles this season at Soldier Field.

The Bears welcomed fans back to Soldier Field on Sunday for Meijer Family Fest, which was highlighted by the team taking the field for practice.