Sunday, August 14, 2022

Cole Kmet Might Finally Be In An Offense Made For Him

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Cole Kmet didn’t have a bad 2021 season. He went for over 600 yards. The first Chicago Bears tight end to do that since 2014. That should be considered an accomplishment given all the problems with Matt Nagy’s scheme and the quarterback carousel. Still, many feel he has underwhelmed. There were some drop issues, and he also didn’t score a single touchdown. Fair or not, a healthy section of Bears fans don’t feel he’s lived up to being the top pick in his draft class.



Something to remember here is Kmet is still only 23-years old. Remarkably young for somebody going into his third season. The big selling point for optimism, though, is the arrival of Luke Getsy. Chicago’s new offensive coordinator is bringing a system called the outside-zone with him. It is an offense that has been around since the mid-1990s, made famous by the Shanahan family. Mike Shanahan won two Super Bowls with it in Denver. His longtime assistant Gary Kubiak won another in 2015 with the Broncos, and Sean McVay just secured another with the Los Angeles Rams.

That doesn’t include Kyle Shanahan doing great things with it in San Francisco.

While the offense is built around the running game, tight ends can often play a vital role. Not only must they be capable blockers, but they are significant weapons when the right situations present themselves. No position seems to burn defenses more often off an outside-zone play action than the tight ends. “Leak” routes and “Corner Posts” are staples of the offense. It isn’t hard to imagine Cole Kmet thriving in those situations.

Typically this scheme calls for tight ends that sacrifice size for speed. Often the best ones like Shannon Sharpe or Owen Daniels weren’t the biggest, but they could run. That isn’t the rule, though. Austin Hooper showed promise in it as a rookie with 271 yards and three touchdowns on just 27 targets. He isn’t any faster than Kmet is. With defenses so focused on the running game and the speed Chicago keeps adding at receiver, it should open up many opportunities for one-on-one matchups.

He made nine catches on 15 targets for 68 yards in man coverage last season. Four of those catches were considered contested, and four went for first downs. It feels like there is still lots of untapped potential with Kmet. This offense might be what he needs to prove it.

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