Make sure to watch Dan’s Preview of the Bears-Panthers game! It includes information on the Tight End Position!
In the last few years of Bears Training Camp, there have been questions in many different position groups. This year, we did not see that as much. Everyone seemed to be relatively confident across the board at all positions, and it felt like there wouldn’t be much worry placed on certain position groups.
For most positions, things are going according to plan. The fans and media are mostly seeing what they were expecting overall with position group, well, almost every position.
There seemed to be plenty of optimism going into this season for the tight ends. The two guys at the top of the depth chart, Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen, were each coming back looking like they would be ready to go.
What looked like a strong position in training camp has quickly turned into a concern for many. Trey Burton came back from Sports Hernia Surgery faster than I honestly expected. Personally, I thought he was going to be sitting out a bit at the start of Training Camp, but he came out on day 1 and practiced, which was very encouraging.
It seemed as though everything was going well for Trey Burton. Last Friday, the team announced that Trey Burton was having an off-day, which seemed reasonable. The team needs to be careful to make sure that he is not overworking, so a day off made sense.
The problem is that in the days following, we still have no sign of Trey Burton. He has been out of practice on Saturday (Family Fest), Monday, and Tuesday.
It has not reached the point where one should seriously worry about Burton, but I do find it rather odd that he is sitting out so many days in a row. All that really matters is that he is ready for the opening of the NFL’s 100th season, so we shall wait and see if how long he goes before practicing again.
Burton is not the guy to worry about just yet. The guy that fans are starting to worry about is Adam Shaheen. We know that over the last couple of years, Adam Shaheen has been bitten by the injury bug.
We have seen flashes from him, but nothing consistent. This season, hope was on the rise that Adam Shaheen would be back and hopefully would finally get the chance to show why Ryan Pace selected him in the second round.
So far, training camp has been a nightmare for Shaheen. He has missed multiple practices due to a sore back, and when he did eventually return to action, the results were not as good as one would hope.
He did not look like the physical freak that he was appearing to be coming out of college, and he is just not making the plays he needs to make. He has had way too many drops, probably the most of any tight end, and most of the others have practiced every day!
It’s not time to write off Adam Shaheen just yet. We have not even reached the first played the first preseason game yet, so he has plenty of time to turn it around.
Like it or not, Shaheen is going to be a part of this football team in 2019. It is not time to give up on Adam Shaheen yet.
Moving on from the top two tight ends, Ben Braunecker and Bradley Sowell are interesting options. There is not much to say about Braunecker, as he appears to be quality depth at the position, something they desperately need.
With Bradley Sowell, however, there is plenty to discuss. Sowell’s making the transition from Tackle to Tight End is going exactly as expected. He will obviously be a help in the running game, but how much help will come in the passing game? In practice, he looks like he is a Tackle moving to Tight End, and that’s okay.
All Bradley Sowell needs to do is get his routes to be respectable. A defense cannot just prepare for the run because the team always runs with him on the field, he needs to do more. If he does that, he will be on the field.
The UDFA Tight Ends are an interesting story that also has come with surprises. One of the most popular UDFA signings by Chicago was Dax Raymond. The surprise here is that he has not even been the best UDFA Tight End on the team.
Ian Bunting has been having a very impressive camp, and it’s noticeable that the coaches think so too. He has been getting more reps with the 1s and 2s over Raymond, something that many didn’t expect.
Raymond had a very slow start, and it seems like the gap is now closing, making those two a very interesting battle.
Don’t forget about Ellis Richardson though, as while he is labeled as behind them other two, he has had some really good days against the 3s on defense. If he has a couple big preseason games, that depth chart may change.
Overall, the tight end position has quickly become the one to watch for this preseason. I will be covering that and other positions here and on my Twitter.