Chicago Bears have a luxury that not many teams in the NFL don’t have and that is two quality tight ends. nd have a luxury that not many teams in the NFL don’t have and that is two quality tight ends.
Last season as a rookie, Cole Kmet grabbed 28 receptions (44 targets) for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Jimmy Graham led Chicago in receiving touchdowns with 8, along with 50 receptions (76 targets) for 438 yards. Can the tight end duo replicate their success in 2020 this season with whomever is starting at quarterback in Week 1?
Latest camp news
Week 2 preseason recap: Kmet didn’t participate in Chicago’s 41-15 loss to the Bills. Graham tallied one reception for five yards. The emergence of Jesse James, who had four receptions for 54 yards, could make this a three-player battle. Kmet still appears to be the leader, but James could be the backup ahead of Graham.
Week 1 preseason recap: Both tight ends made very brief appearances in the Bears’ 20-13 victory in their preseason opener versus the Miami Dolphins on Saturday. Kmet logged seven offensive snaps, catching a single pass for three yards. The 34-year-old Graham dipped his toes in for just two snaps before calling it an afternoon.
Encouraging usage for Cole Kmet Saturday.— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) August 16, 2021
* In on all 7 of Andy Dalton's snaps.
* 2 snaps inline, 2 wide, 2 slot, 1 backfield
* 2 targets on 4 Dalton pass attempts
* Will be getting Justin Fields under center early in season (if not Wk 1)
8/10/21: According to the Bears team site, tight end coach Clancy Barone said last week that he felt Cole Kmet is playing a lot faster this year than he was last year. He also added that Kmet is looking for more confident and he has big expectations for the former second-round pick.
Based on what Barone’s comment about Kmet, this is only good news for the Bears and their fans. After Week 9 last season, Kmet received more opportunities in the passing game, averaging 5.1 targets per game. Kmet and Graham is likely share time on the field this season, but it wouldn’t be a surprised to see Kmet emerge as TE1.
Next preseason game: at Tennessee Titans
The Bears may treat this game similar to Week 2 in terms of playing time, but it could also be the time to shut down the starters completely ahead of the regular season. Kmet appears to be the starter and it would not be surprising to see him sit this one out. The battle appears to be heating up for the second tight end spot between Graham and James.
Fantasy football verdict
Week 2 preseason: Kmet was drafted as Graham’s replacement and should be firmly in the lead role, but Justin Fields had good chemistry with James. That could be worth monitoring if and when the Bears do eventually turn things over to the rookie. Don’t expect James to take away from Kmet’s role as much as Graham’s, but the redzone targets could shift significantly if a quarterback change is made.