Chicago Bears: Dissecting Adam Shaheen as a pass catcher

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 19: Adam Shaheen
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 19: Adam Shaheen /

Yesterday we looked into Adam Shaheen as a run blocker. How did the Chicago Bears tight end fare as a pass catcher in 2017?

Adam Shaheen was not used often in 2017. In fact, he was only targeted 14 times as a rookie. That is a very small sample size to take much away from. With that said, I dove into every route Shaheen ran and every play he was targeted on. Here are the takeaways. Keep in mind that everything said is with the idea in mind that the sample size is small and the coaching will change.

Receptions by route

Flare: 4-4 42 yards, 2 TD

Post: 2-3 40 yards

Out: 3-3, 11 yards, TD

Slant 1-1, 16 yards

In 1-1, 12 yards

Cross: 0-1

As shown in his route breakdown, flares and posts were the two most effective uses of Shaheen. Shaheen caught two passes for over 20 yards. One was a flare, one was a post. He also had an 18-yard reception on a post route.

The play below is a nine-yard reception but looks like a play Matt Nagy will be interested in using with Shaheen. Shaheen is a plus blocker and therefore gets respect blocking downhill. However, he can also bail and sit in space for an easy completion and some yards after the catch.


The obvious stand out note from the stats above is the lack of incompletions. On just 14 targets he hauled in 12 catches. He adjusted to a few passes and showed reliable hand work. Of his two incompletions, only one could even be argued to have blame placed on him.

As you can see below, Shaheen is crossing from left to right in the end zone. William Jackson III picks him and trails him. The pass is out ahead of Shaheen, but Jackson does do a tremendous job of recovering and making the play on the ball. Still, Shaheen probably needs to come down with this.

His other incompletion sailed over his head without a chance.

Contested Catches

Overall Shaheen was pretty solid when it comes to contested receptions. He was 3-4 in contested catch situations and caught a touchdown. In the play below, you can see he is able to get over the middle from his post route. However, he does not have much separation. Shaheen is able to haul in the tough pass down the field for 22 yards.

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Red Zone

A strong contested catch rate is going to give him plenty of red zone opportunity. That is something that Adam Shaheen saw a lot of last season. He was 3-4 when targeted in the red zone. All three receptions came within two yards, and all three led to touchdowns.

The play below was his best red zone reception from last season. It is a jump ball situation and gives Shaheen the ability to make a tough catch with a defender draped over him. His size and box out ability should see similar completion to touchdown rates on higher attempts next season.

Yards After the Catch

Lastly, one of the underrated factors that Shaheen may bring is his yards after the catch ability. As shown in some of the plays above, his overwhelming size warrants about 2-3 yards after the catch on every reception.

However, it is worth noting that 2-3 was usually a max as well last season. Shaheen finished with 50 yards after the catch. However, 29 came in one play, highlighted below. It is a flare out to Shaheen who has plenty of space.

It is comforting to see how comfortable he looks running in space and how he was able to evade the cornerback.

Overall, there is still a lot to be seen from Shaheen. However, his rookie season was extremely promising. He caught most  of everything in his direction. He showed some promise in the red zone and some promise after the catch.

The biggest question coming away from this two part breakdown is why Shaheen was not on the field more as a rookie.