The Chicago Bears figured to throw some new looks at the Green Bay Packers after the bye week, specifically at tight end with Zach Miller on injured reserve and Dion Sims out for Sunday’s game.
And with the team’s top two tight ends sidelines, rookie Adam Shaheen was thrust into a starting role … sorta. Shaheen set season bests in total snaps (31) and passing snaps (13). He also caught passes on each of the team’s first two offensive possessions and gained 39 yards. HOWEVER, his overall body of work was limited. He played on just 52 percent of the offense’s snaps, 32 percent of the unit’s passing snaps, and wasn’t targeted again after his 31-yard reception at the 7:12 mark in the first quarter.
How Shaheen develops as a pass catcher and grows with fellow rookie Mitch Trubisky will depend on how much playing time he gets in that particular role. If Sunday was any indication, he might not get as many opportunities as we expected (and hoped!). So while it looks like Shaheen will get an extended look down the stretch, he’ll need to (for some reason) beat out fourth-stringer Daniel Brown, who received a significant chunk of playing time on Sunday.
Yeah – Brown out-snapped Shaheen 38-31 in Sunday’s loss. Sigh.
In fact, Brown played more passing snaps (32) than Shaheen played in total (31). Considering that Brown was literally the team’s fourth-string tight end in Week 8 and did not play an offensive snap in any of the team’s first seven games, seeing him receive a significant number of snaps (specifically over Shaheen) is quite jarring. Brown played on 63 percent of the team’s offensive plays, caught two of his three targets, and gained 23 yards.
Based on how snaps were split among tight ends against the New Orleans Saints after Miller’s injury, we figured Shaheen might lose some playing time to Brown, but still … ugh. I didn’t quite think it’d be this stark.
To be fair, Shaheen has performed well as a run blocker, earning a 70.8 run block grade from Pro Football Focus which ranks 21st among 71 qualifying tight ends. It is, of course, important that Shaheen develops in this role too, because he wasn’t asked to do it much in college, but it would still be nice for the other aspects of Shaheen’s game – like receiving – to develop down the stretch.
He needs more opportunities.