Chicago Bears Adam Shaheen key to beating Detroit Lions

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Fans cheer after Adam Shaheen
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Fans cheer after Adam Shaheen /

Chicago Bears tight end Adam Shaheen is the key to attacking the Lions pass defense

The surprise revelation to the Detroit Lions 5-4 start to the season is that it is their defense, not their offense is leading the way. As of right now, they rank as the 11th best defense by efficiency and rank number ten against the pass. Given the known issues of the Chicago Bears passing offense, this is not a good matchup. However, there is one spot the Bears could attack Detroit, and it is going to require some rookie-to-rookie action.

The Bears have to get Adam Shaheen involved more in the passing game this game. While the Lions have fared well in the passing game, they struggle against tight ends. At safety, Glover Quin usually plays deep, and Tavon Wilson and Miles Killebrew are much better downhill in the box defending the run. Linebacker Tahir Whitehead is more of a downhill player as well, leaving Jarad Davis as the main target for tight ends.

While Davis is fast and looks like he has the potential to be a great player, this is still a rookie and one who has already missed two games due to injury. He has struggled to get to the tight end quick enough near the line, and has given up receptions in the soft spots between him and the safety. With him being the only reliable non-cornerback who can matchup with tight ends, the Lions have fallen to 29th in the NFL defending that position, showing their clear weakness as a defensive unit.

Without Dion Sims and Zach Miller, Adam Shaheen finally saw the field, playing a career-high 31 snaps, just over 51% of the team’s snaps for the game. Shaheen showed well again as a blocker but does have a weakness to his game. It is clear the Bears do not trust him running routes downfield, as he does not have the footwork or fluidity to create separation. However, he caught two short passes and turned them up the field for 39 yards in this game. He is going to be a better blocker than Daniel Brown and needs to play

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over 60% of the team’s snaps in this game.

While he may not be able to attack the Lions down the seam, they can draw up plays, like the one below to get the ball in his hands early and make the linebacker Davis run a long way to track down his opposition.

The Lions biggest weakness is stopping plays like that, and Shaheen showed that it is in the arsenal. The Bears need to go to this more often against the Lions if they are going to want to solve this much-improved defenses riddles.