Offensive coaches weigh in on Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet
At this point in the offseason, “coach speak” is going to be hot and heavy. Every player on the team is in the best shape of their lives and ready to bring their best efforts to the upcoming season. This is no different for the Chicago Bears.
Thoughts on new Chicago Bears “U” tight end Jimmy Graham
Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor and Tight Ends Coach Clancy Barone spoke specifically on the two main attractions within the tight end group on Thursday. Lazor spoke about Jimmy Graham’s proven production and how that was an instant attraction to targeting him this offseason.
Many fans may be screaming, “what production has he had over the last two years with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay? How is he going to produce with this offense if he could not produce with Rodgers throwing him the football?”
Listen, I have gone over this many times this offseason, but not scoreboard watch when it comes to Graham. Graham found himself open often in Green Bay, but Rodgers force-fed the ball to Davante Adams instead. Is Graham going to be as fast as he was while in New Orleans? Absolutely not. However, he is great at exposing weaknesses in defenses by sitting down in coverages and making himself a target. Graham will produce here in Chicago.
Barone spoke about how Graham is a “pros pro” and how he is always in great shape. This is important for the likes of Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace. Graham’s availability over the years is another positive that brought him into Chicago. After the abysmal 2019 season for the tight end group that saw multiple faces try to play the position but none generate over 100 yards had to be frustrating. Graham brings some stability to the position.
Thoughts on Chicago Bears rookie tight end Cole Kmet
Barone also spoke about rookie tight end Cole Kmet. He said he was surprised about Kmet’s size. His exact words were, “he certainly looks the part. He’s as big as advertised. He’s in tremendous condition. Very lean. A big, big, thick-bodied guy and extremely athletic.”
If you were wondering, Kmet is 6’6″ and 262 pounds. It is possible that his weight has fluctuated up or down some since preparing for the 2020 season, but he is clearly a big guy and should be able to play the “Y” tight end position very well if he can use that mass to in-line block.
Barone also spoke about how Kmet is a quick study. This is the second time we have heard this about Kmet. Matt Nagy mentioned this a while back when discussing how impressed he was with Kmet’s ability to pick up the offense in Zoom meetings. He said he would try and stump him but could not.
Hopefully, that intelligence and quick learning ability shows up on the field and not just in the film room. We must limit our expectations of the rookie tight end as most do not produce at high levels in their first season or two. Many say the position is one of the most difficult to master.
No matter how you slice it, this tight end group is above and beyond better than what the team had last year. I would argue it is better than what was in place in 2018 too. My thoughts on the position group are that the Bears have the second-best group in the NFC North for the 2020 season behind only the Vikings. Yes, I would even take Graham/Kmet over Hockenson/Bryant.