Chicago Bears Tight Ends Expect Less Attention
The old football saying is the tight end is your quarterback’s best friend.
Well, then who or what’s the tight end’s best friend?
Bears tight end Jimmy Graham has an answer, and it’s one well-suited to better production from Bears tight ends this season.
“A tight end’s best friend is speed on the outside,” Graham said.
Cole Kmet, Jesse James and Graham can’t complain then about having receivers like Darnell Mooney, Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd on the outside. It’s a dynamic largely lacking in last year’s Bears offense and this group seems to possess it.
“I think myself and Cole and Jesse and our group will benefit a lot from that,” Graham said. “When you’ve got speed on the outside, then everything underneath really opens up.
“I had a lot of speed in New Orleans. I had a lot of speed on a lot of teams I’ve been on, and it truly helps you. Guys have to worry about getting blown-by on the outside, so you’re mostly going to be one-on-one with linebackers and safeties.”
Coach Matt Nagy earlier in training camp said he thought he had the type of talent to better implement his offensive system.
“It’s a really good foundation now in my opinion,” Nagy said. “That’s why I feel good about it.”
Speed opening up the inside for tight ends to operate is part of it, and the Bears think defenses will be busy focusing on the deep threats while leaving lesser pass coverage talents to focus on Graham, Kmet and James.
They had 85 catches in 135 targets among four tight ends last year, which was far better than in 2019, but see the better complementary personnel as key to production like Kansas City or Philadelphia have had from their tight ends in the same offense.
“It’s a matchup league,” Graham said. “It’s a player’s league, and I’m looking forward to having an opportunity to exploit some of those matchups.
Kmet said it’s evident the offense will take off even if the first team has accounted for one touchdown in preseason.
“I think we’re ready to show what we can do as an offense,” Kmet said. “We feel really good about where we’re at, haven’t really had it in the games necessarily, whether guys have been out or things like that. But we’ve been feeling good about what we’ve been putting together in practice and where we feel like our strengths and weakness are, kind of tightening up those things as we lead up to Week 1.
“We’re just real excited to get out there and show everyone what we could do.”
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