As well as the Chicago Bears offense played last Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, the TE position is still a weakness. From much of what I heard from Bears fans, Kellen Davis is the golden boy who will immediately replace Greg Olsen.
I completely disagree.
Kellen Davis is 6’7” and 267 lbs. of brute strength and force. These are great characteristics to have at tight end. Hell, Mike Ditka was only about 6’3” and 230 lbs. However, Davis is young and doesn’t have a lot of NFL experience. He has only six NFL starts at TE in his career, so he has a lot to learn.
The game against the Falcons proved that a guy of Davis’ stature is hard to bring down once the football is in his hands. I like his ability to get open and run with the ball. He made two catches for a total of 23 yards, half of which were while dragging multiple defenders. But gaining yardage is only half of a tight end’s job.
The other part is blocking. This is where Davis really showed his inexperience. On the first play of the game, he did not engage Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon long enough, leading to Matt Forte being tackled for a three yard loss.
Then, in the third quarter, he was almost solely responsible for giving up a safety and killing Jay Cutler in the process. Facing a one-on-one with DE Lawrence Sidbury deep in Bears territory, Davis tried to again push his defender, instead of engaging him. Sidbury ended up being propelled towards Cutler in the end zone, blindsiding the QB just as he got the throw off. Cutler was nearly split in two.
Yes, I’m exaggerating here, but all it takes is one bad block to change a game and that’s something the Bears can’t afford against teams like the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.
I like the upside of Kellen Davis and can’t wait to see what he can do over the middle, but this is a Mike Martz offense. We don’t need big play tight ends. We need extra blockers and guys who can get open and catch the ball for short yardage when the pressure is on. And that’s another thing that Davis lacked on Sunday.
I’m sure you all remember the play near the end of the second quarter where Davis was wide open near the goal line and Cutler overthrew him. As the announcers were criticizing the throw, I was wondering why Davis was just standing there after the release. The ball was hanging in the air for at least two seconds and he didn’t move till the ball was past him or even try to dive and catch it. The ball landed about three yards past him. Dive, you fool!
Anyway, Kellen Davis looks to have a bright future ahead of him, but he needs to learn from his mistakes quickly. If his blocking improves, I’m buying him. If not, give me some Spaeth.