Bears are "Cautiously Optimistic" About Adam Shaheen's Eventual Return

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Bears are “Cautiously Optimistic” About Adam Shaheen’s Eventual Return

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears’ red zone offense hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations, as there have been a few too many times when the team has settled for field goals despite getting to the doorstep of the end zone. Help could be on the way soon, but as has been a familiar refrain this season, patience is required.

Head Coach Matt Nagy says tight end Adam Shaheen is “progressing pretty well,” according to Chris Emma of 670 The Score. Shaheen suffered a foot/ankle injury back in August during the team’s preseason exhibition against the Denver Broncos. Early reports suggested the injury wasn’t as bad as originally feared, but later tests proved otherwise as the injury was more complicated (and arguably worse) than first thought.

The Bears placed Shaheen on injured reserve to start the season in a move that cleared roster space for the team to carry four tight ends to start the year, while also keeping faith that he could return at a later date. Shaheen has been out for essentially six weeks and can’t be activated until Week 8 at the earliest.

Shaheen’s return could ultimately help the Bears improve on their woeful red zone start once he gets back into playing shape. Three of the 12 receptions Shaheen hauled in as a rookie were red zone scores inside the 10-yard-line. Teaming Shaheen and Trey Burton (an excellent red zone target in his own right) could open up a new world of possibilities for Mitch Trubisky and the passing offense.

Chicago has scored touchdowns on just 40 percent of their red zone possessions, which is the sixth lowest percentage in the league. Only the Texans, Packers, Jets, Titans, and Lions have scored touchdowns at a lower rate than the Bears this season. This number represents a step back for the Bears, who scored touchdowns on 60.6 percent of their red zone trips in 2017. And while that represented the sixth highest percentage in football, the Bears were tied with the Jets and Raiders for the fewest red zone scoring attempts per game last year.

The Bears’ passing offense continues to take its lumps early in the year, but it’s just a matter of time until help is on the way in the form of their big-bodied tight end.

“Now it’s just a week-by-week thing to see where he’s at,” Nagy said. “But he’s a valuable weapon for us that we want to feel cautiously optimistic that he’ll be back.”

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.