Has Jesse James leaped Jimmy Graham on Chicago Bears depth chart?

Chicago Bears - Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

Every week I find myself writing about the Chicago Bears Jimmy Graham saga as it continues to get worse and worse. Of course, we knew all offseason that Graham should have been released because his contract was never going to match his production.

Still, through six games Graham was playing far less than players such as Damiere Byrd. He was hardly involved in the offense. Then, the next two games things continued to get weird when Jesse James played more snaps with Graham out than Graham ever played healthy.

It is fair that the two games before Graham was sidelined, his snaps increased, but it was wild to see James immediately get work as a second tight end once Graham was pulled from the lineup.

This lead to speculation that the Bears coaches actually prefer James to Graham. It makes sense, James can block and Graham is a glorified wide receiver without the speed he used to have.

So, Monday would be the ultimate test consider Graham and James were both active. Neither had a huge role, but the Bears did run their most multiple tight end sets of the year.

That is because James played 22 snaps while Graham played 18. Last week James played 38 snaps, but this week the Bears split 40 between the two. It is similar usage, just divided by the two.

What is interesting to note is that Graham ran 10 routes, while James blocked on 14 snaps. So, Graham ran a route on 55% of his snaps while James ran a route on 23% of his. Graham blocked on 38% of his snaps, while James blocked on 64% of his.

They essentially were split down the middle with James taking the most blocking snaps and Graham taking the most routes. This makes sense, and it highlights the strengths of both.

Next. Another in-game adjustment Matt Nagy struggles with. dark

Still, at some point it would get predictable that run is more likely with James and pass more likely with Graham. Beyond that, the reality is that Graham is making about 5x what Jesse James is. The fact that they are in a platoon that James is leading is sad for Graham, and once again speaks to why they need him. They are a better offense when Jesse James is the second tight end, and it could have saved them a lot of money.