The tight end position calls for a player versatile enough to block in the running game, provide pass protection, be an accessible safety valve for a quarterback who needs it underneath, and be a playmaker who can stretch the field vertically. All things considered, it is a hefty load to handle. And while the Bears currently have five tight ends on the roster, the one expected to bring the most to the table isn’t all there physically right now. And that’s a problem.
Trey Burton still isn’t at 100 percent, according to Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy:
Matt Nagy said Trey Burton is still not at 100 percent but trending towards good health. What can he add for the Bears' offense? "He's a valuable asset."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) October 23, 2019
News of Burton being less than 100 percent is a bit of a surprise, but perhaps it shouldn’t have been. While speaking with Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times during the bye week, Burton said he was feeling OK, but was pretty clearly frustrated.
“Mentally, you’re good,” Burton said, via the Sun-Times. “Mentally, I’m refreshed. I’m ready to rock and roll. But physically, I’m just being held back.”
Burton appeared to be at 100 percent during the summer, after recovering from an offseason sports hernia surgery set to repair the groin issue that ultimately kept him out from the Bears’ playoff loss to the Eagles last January. And while a late-summer groin issue (unrelated to the earlier injury) kept him out of action in Week 1, Burton has been active in each of the Bears’ game since. But when his head coach says Burton isn’t 100 percent eight weeks into the season, it can be chalked up as a setback.
Tight end is supposed to be a key cog in Nagy’s offense. That the best one with the most upside isn’t physically able to give it his all to reach his potential and aid the offense through some tough times in an unsettling development. Further, Burton didn’t pop up on the injury report last week and had recently been a full participant with no limitations. And while his snap percentage was lower than it was when he was fully healthy, Burton’s absence from the injury report was perceived to be a sign that things were progressing. But that doesn’t seem to be the case based on this recent development. I’ll be curious to see if he is dinged enough to merit an appearance on the injury report ahead of Sunday’s game against the Chargers.