Expect to see a lot of Cole Kmet for the Chicago Bears to end the season
Things did not go well for the Chicago Bears after their bye week. However, individually, Cole Kmet did take a step forward. The rookie tight end has not been very productive this season, although that was expected. Still, as the season has gone on he had not seen much of an increase in snap count. That changed after the bye week.
He did see an uptick after week seven, though. From weeks 8-10, he played career highs 30, 36, and 35 snaps respectively. After the bye week, that number saw a huge increase to 54 snaps, which amounted to 79% of the team’s snaps.
In weeks eight and nine Jimmy Graham played 44 and 50 snaps. However, in week ten he played 29 snaps, six less than Kmet. In week 12, Graham saw a season-low 24 snaps, 30 less than Kmet. In Week 10 it was a start to something, and after the bye it was a full phase move. Cole Kmet is the starter and JImmy Graham is the number two tight end.
The biggest increase for Kmet came on passing downs. Kmet ran 36 routes on Sunday, which doubled his career-high 18 routes coming into the game. That is 25% of the career routes he ran in one week.
Kmet has been a solid addition in the run game, especially when pulling across the line of scrimmage as a blocker. He has not been a great pass blocker, but he should be running routes in these scenarios anyway.
While Kmet did not make a big impact in the passing game, and he did drop a pass, he was also open downfield, and Mitch Trubisky forced him to spin around the opposite way. Beyond that, the key to his rookie season has always been patience. Seeing a career-high in routes is needed, and he needs to continue to be on the field in these situations. Now, that he has made that step, we will start to want to see growth in terms of production.