Flexibility was not a term synonymous with the Chicago Bears’ offense in 2017, specifically with regards to tight end usage. But it sounds like that’s going to change in 2018, under the direction of new head coach Matt Nagy
“One thing you guys will see as we go, there’s flexibility within this offense,” Nagy said, via the Chicago Tribune. “This is no longer a deal where you’re just playing a split-out tight end position. But we as coaches need to be able to put these guys in the best position possible so they can succeed. Whatever their strength is, let’s work toward that.”
Change is coming to the Bears’ offense – by way of a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and scheme – and, frankly, the timing couldn’t have been better for tight end Adam Shaheen.
Drafted in the second-round in 2017, Shaheen didn’t come close to scratching his potential because he was used in such a predictable manner by the previous regime. But according to new head coach, it sounds like those days are over: “A guy like Adam Shaheen, who’s a big guy, he’s a real good fit for us, and he’ll be able to play, really, the Y and the U position,” Nagy said.
The “Y” position is better known as the in-line tight end, which is commonly used as the blocker in an offense. It’s a role Shaheen is probably all too familiar with after blocking on 69.5 percent of his total snaps he played on offense in 2017. Nagy suggested he is willing to use Shaheen differently, giving him some time as the “U” tight end – a position where the tight end lines up in the slot and is moved around the formation. Hence, the “U” tight end is often referred to as the “move” tight end. There wasn’t much “move” in Shaheen’s game during his rookie season, getting out into pass patterns on just 30.5 percent of his total plays.
Nagy hopes to create mismatches on the field with his personnel and package usage in 2018, and the tight ends figure to play a major role in doing just that.