Chicago Bears: 4 players on offense who must step up to make the playoffs

Chicago Bears (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Jimmy Graham
Chicago Bears (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Jimmy Graham – TE

Matt Nagy talks about how important the tight end position is to his offense. Yet last year, the team had one of the worst tight end performances not only as a group but also from their “top” player at the position. Trey Burton just did not work out. He started out as a solid tight end the offense in 2018, but fell off quickly and has not been the same since missing the playoff loss to the Eagles that year.

Burton moved on and signed with Indianapolis Colts after the Chicago Bears released him this season. The backups did the best they could but even combined none of them were what this team needed. Now we can fast-forward to 2020. The Bears have two new tight ends. Since rookie tight ends rarely perform well in their first season, Cole Kmet is not a player the team can rely on right away. Anything he does his rookie year will be the icing on the cake.

Instead, the team must have a strong performance from Jimmy Graham. Graham was brought in to replace Burton. Graham will be relied upon to play the “U” tight end (move) role. He is coming off two “down” seasons with the Green Bay Packers. Many believe Graham is “washed” and will not succeed with the Bears. Many think the 33-year-old is too slow to be effective.

The thing is, he played in a system that does not rely on the tight end position. Watching his game film, Graham has not lost as much of his step as many want to believe. He is the perfect stop-gap starter on this offense. I expect to see him thrive more in Nagy’s offense than he did with Aaron Rodgers in the last two years. We should not expect the type of performance he displayed while younger with the Saints, but he should outperform his two seasons with Green Bay.