Chicago Bears make offensive change past 3 weeks

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

Early into the season, it was baffling why the Chicago Bears did not use more multiple tight end sets. The team held onto Jimmy Graham which added to the thought that they would be leaning into using their heavy tight end packages. This has been something that Matt Nagy said he wanted, and they even signed Jesse James to ensure that they had not two, but three tight ends.

Still, through the first six weeks of the season, they were using multiple tight end sets at the same rate as the year prior. Something changed, and since week seven, you can see a distance change in how often they use multiple tight end sets.

How Jimmy Graham allowed Chicago Bears to use more tight ends

When Graham missed a week seven game due to COVID, the Bears had to turn to Jesse James as their tight end two. From that point forward James has out-snapped Graham 138 to 44.

What this has done is given the Bears more confidence to use two tight ends, but also three tight ends.

During the first six weeks of the season the Bears ran 13 personnel, or three tight ends just 3% of the time. In the three games since Graham has returned from COVID, this formation has been run 10% of the time. The number of snaps in 13 personnel over the past 3 weeks is more than the first seven combined.

Beyond that, they moved from 22% 12-personnel to 28%. This is the jump that we anticipated before the season. They ranked 15th in multiple tight end sets, which is about on par for a Matt Nagy offense through six weeks.

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From week seven and on, they ran multiple tight ends sets the 5th most of any team, and that includes Miami, who uses tight end Mike Gesicki as a wide receiver. This is where we anticipated the Bears were always going to be with Nagy.  They made signings, draft picks, and more to get multiple tight ends on the field, and finally in the past three or four games that have done it. Probably too little too late for the adjustment.