Chicago Bears: 3 Keys to a victory over the Lions
The Chicago Bears must lean on the tight ends
Looking back at the Chicago Bears 2019 season, it is fairly obvious that the tight end group did not play well last season. In fact, the group was flat out awful. Injuries to Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen kept the top two tight ends off the field for the Bears. Let’s face it though, even a healthy Burton or Shaheen would not have made a difference.
The Bears did not have a single tight end gain more than 100 yards total. Yes, some teams have tight ends gain over 100 yards in a single game, but not a single one could gain those amount of yards throughout the entire season. Yikes. In fact, the team combined for only 397 yards total for the year. This is why Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy retooled the tight end room. Wait, that is not the right wording. Pace and Nagy tore the tight end room down and almost built a whole new one.
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The top three tight ends on the Chicago Bears depth chart for 2020 are three new faces. The third tight end listed is Demetrius Harris. Harris has some experience with Nagy in Kansas City. He was brought in to play the “Y” (or in-line) tight end position. Later in the offseason, Pace signed Jimmy Graham to replace Burton and play the “U” (or move) tight end. Then, instead of thinking this was good enough, Pace drafted Cole Kmet with the team’s first pick (second round).
We all know that Nagy likes to run his offense through the tight end position too. Well, hopefully, the new faces will find success (could one hit over 100 yards in literally the first game?). The Detroit Lions have not been good against the tight end position. In 2019, the team finished 29th in success rate versus the tight end. In 2018, the defense was 23rd. The Lions brought in some new faces like Jamie Collins.
Collins will likely help improve the Lions defense versus the tight end position, but I do not see it being enough. Collins is nearly 31 years old and speed depreciates as players get older. He had an okay year from allowing only a 46.0 quarterback rating, but he did allow a 72.7 completion percentage when targeted. In 2018, that completion percentage was 74.7 percent and the quarterback rating was not so great at 96.7.
The Bears must exploit, or at least attempt to exploit, the defense with the tight end group.