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Analysis Bears Opinion

Is Adam Shaheen the Missing Piece in the Bears Offense?

With Adam Shaheen looking to return to the field in the near future, Dan DeYoung dives into his fit in the Bears offense.

It’s no secret that Ryan Pace did everything he could to make his quarterback as comfortable as possible by giving him a new head coach in Matt Nagy, and some impressive players in Trey Burton, Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Taylor Gabriel this past off-season.

Not a ton of this year’s receiving options came from the 2017 Bears roster as most of those guys are not on an NFL roster anymore. One threat is still waiting to get his shot to come back and play, and that is Adam Shaheen.

It feels like many have forgotten about the former basketball player out of Ashland University and that he is not even thought of as a possible weapon on this team, but I believe that this offense is just waiting for him to return.

When you watch the Chicago Bears, you notice that the tight end is used quite a bit in the offense. We are seeing plenty of Trey Burton, who is quickly becoming one of Mitch Trubisky‘s favorite targets, and deservedly so, as I think Ryan Pace may have hit a home run with that signing.

You do see, however, lots of Dion Sims and Ben Braunecker in the passing game as well. Many fans are always questioning why in the world they are out there during passing plays, but Burton isn’t going to take every tight end pass play, and someone needs to be able to step up and play.

So, as you and I are yelling at Dion Sims to actually be worth something in the passing game, Adam Shaheen is slowly getting prepared to take that spot away.

When you watch the film of some of the popular routes that tight ends run in this offense, it’s hard to not get excited about Shaheen’s return. People may have forgotten just how fast Adam Shaheen was, but he is an absolute rocket for his size. Once the ball lands in his hands, he has a great burst up the field for a guy of his size.

The problem is that he really has not had a great opportunity to show off that speed. Shaheen had his flashes last year, but he just didn’t do quite enough to cement himself into Bears fans heads as a possible option. Now that his time on the injury report is slowly coming to an end, we can look at him as a possible weapon again.

When Adam Shaheen does come back, watch for him to be running routes fairly similar to what we see out of Trey Burton. Last year, he was not used properly and he was rarely getting targets on a team that was starving for a weapon for Mitch Trubisky. When they gave Adam Shaheen his chances, he capitalized on them by making big plays as he usually ran for a big gain or scored. On 25% of his catches last season, they were for six points.

The Bears mainly had Adam Shaheen run short routes, whereas, in this new Bears offense, we see Trey Burton run routes all over the place. He is running short routes, medium routes, and even getting thrown deep balls. We did not get to see much of Adam Shaheen running deeper routes, but he easily could in this offense. A deep ball to Shaheen like the deep ball to Trey Burton against the Buccaneers could be nasty.

I do like the idea of using Adam Shaheen similarly to how the team uses some of the other quick receivers. Nagy tries to get his athletic play-makers the ball in space and let them do the work. Shaheen showed flashes of that last season, like this big play he had against Green Bay.

The Bears also enjoyed using Adam Shaheen quite a bit on the goal line last season. This season, the Bears have done a pretty solid job of getting the ball into the end zone, but he will make that process much easier. He gives Mitch Trubisky a big target that has the ability to get up and get the ball effectively.

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Adam Shaheen should immediately steal reps from Dion Sims and Ben Braunecker. While watching film of them running routes, all I can think about is how deadly those routes would be if they were ran by Shaheen instead.

Is Adam Shaheen the missing piece in this offense? I believe that he could potentially complete this fantastic cast of targets for Mitch Trubisky, and soon, we may never have to see this again.

Follow Dan on Twitter-Feature Photo Credit: Associated Press

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