Chicago Bears: This young player should break out in the second half

Chicago Bears TE Cole Kmet - Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images
Chicago Bears TE Cole Kmet - Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images /

Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet has been more involved in the offense the last two games. That should continue in the second half and he could break out.

The Chicago Bears have struggled mightily on offense (again). They rank 29th in points scored and 31st in total yards. As a result, they are reeling. They are currently on a four-game losing streak and now own a record of 3-6.

The bye week came at a good time. We hope that the Bears’ coaching staff worked things out and are ready to do better in the second half. However, we need to keep in mind that Chicago is 0-3 coming out of bye weeks under head coach Matt Nagy.

Even if they break that streak this week the Bears still need a lot of work to do before they can challenge for a playoff spot. It is more likely that they won’t make the playoffs. In that case, they need to see what they have and decide which of the players will contribute to the future success of the team.

Cole Kmet could be Chicago Bears breakout player the rest of the way

One of the players the Bears could look at is tight end Cole Kmet. The Bears drafted Kmet in the second round of last year’s draft. He’s had some moments but still hasn’t been consistent. That inconsistency caused some fans to already label him a bust after just 25 games. They see other tight ends playing well and automatically want Kmet to do the same.

There are reasons for Kmet’s inconsistency. First, it takes tight ends a while before they become the solid players people expect. Let’s take a look at some tight ends who ended up playing well and how they did their rookie season:

  • Travis Kelce (arguably the top tight end in the NFL currently): 0 catches
  • Austin Hooper (two-time Pro Bowl player): 19 catches, 271 yards,3 touchdowns
  • Jason Witten (Future Hall of Famer): 35 catches, 347 yards,1 touchdown

In his rookie season, Kmet recorded 28 catches for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. He didn’t have eye-popping numbers but considering how other tight ends fared their rookie seasons, not bad.

The second reason for some of Kmet’s inconsistency has to do with the game plan. The Bears coaching staff hasn’t fully utilized the tight ends in the offense.

It is important for a young quarterback to have a security blanket to throw to when he’s in trouble. The tight end offers a big target who can just outmuscle the defender and make the catch to extend drives. Additionally, that big target comes in handy in the red zone. The quarterback can just throw the ball up and a good tight end comes away with the ball.

This season started out as last season did. Kmet wasn’t involved much in the offense last season until Week 12. In the first 11 games, he only had 14 targets, 8 catches for 94 yards. In the final five weeks, however, he had 30 targets, 20 catches for 149 yards.

In the first five games of this season, Kmet received 19 targets, making 10 catches for 81 yards. In the last four games, though, he received 25 targets, making 18 catches for 203 yards. He made some big catches that extended drives in the last two games.

As he got more involved in the offense when the season progressed, last year, expect the same this season. The last four games are just the beginning. Kmet is developing chemistry with Justin Fields. As they understand each other more, the connection will be better. The next step in that chemistry will be the touchdowns.

Tight ends coach Clancy Barrone feels that Kmet is improving and taking bigger steps in his development despite dealing with multiple quarterbacks in his young career so far.

"A lot of that growth process is having time on task with the same quarterback,” Barrone said. “This is一 and is for a lot of people in this offense一 it’s their fourth starting quarterback in 20-something weeks…I think his confidence is evident. You watch his confidence as a route runner and his feel for the offense and knowing what routes should be open vs. what coverages and how to adjust certain routes against certain coverages and that type of thing. With that, I think he has grown quite a bit."

Next. NFL picks, score predictions for Week 11. dark

For some reason, the perception of Kmet hasn’t caught up to reality. He’s heating up and should have a bigger second half. He’ll play a big part in Fields’ development. In addition, he’ll play a big part in the future of the Chicago Bears.