I re-watched The 40-Year-Old Virgin for the first time in a long time, and now this song is stuck in my head. There are worse songs to be stuck in my head. But if you see me, I’ll probably be humming this for a few days.
• One position the Bears can be better in 2021 is at tight end. Don’t get me wrong. Jimmy Graham exceeded expectations as a free agent signing in 2020. And Cole Kmet grew as his rookie season went along. But we’ve been talking amongst ourselves as Bears fans for years about how important the tight end position is to Matt Nagy’s offense. And while the likes of Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen fell short of reaching lofty standards, the Bears can’t afford to let Kmet fail. Which is why I have an interest in Kmet’s appearance at TE University:
Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet hitting the weight room at the Tight End University summit.
(Pictures via themikesgraffix/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/4ZM1jg68Vg
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) June 27, 2021
Respect the position.
— NFL (@NFL) June 27, 2021
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) June 24, 2021
• If you believe steel sharpens steel, then you’re rooting for Kmet to have put in some real work at the tight end summit. Three days. Forty tight ends. That feels like ample opportunity to pick some brains and learn some tricks of the trade. And perhaps, more important than that, position yourself to enter training camp in a place to grow. Chicago didn’t use its first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to choose someone who could be a complementary piece to its offense. Instead, the Bears snagged Kmet with hopes he could make a difference in the offense. Hope springs eternal this time of year. Here’s to Kmet soaking up everything possible.
• Elsewhere at the tight end position, I continue to have an interest in Jake Butt:
“Compared to what I’ve been through, this (offseason) was nothing." –@JakeButtTE
— The 33rd Team (@The33rdTeamFB) June 25, 2021
• Over at The 33rd Team, a site rooted in content from league insiders, former coaches, executives, and other NFL eyes, Butt – who recently signed on with the Bears – writes about his football journey. Injuries (more specifically, two torn ACLs) have derailed what was once looked to be a promising career. Butt earned all sorts of top honors in college and was pegged to be a second-round pick in 2017 before tearing his ACL in his last college game. Where some see trials and tribulations and run, I find myself enamored with Butt’s perseverance to get to this point. It’s an eye-opening journey, to be sure. I’d recommend giving it a read.
• It might seam like Butt is a long-shot to make the squad. After all, he is coming to Chicago on a tryout contract after opening eyes at a minicamp. But considering Matt Nagy’s tight end usage and tendency to roster (at least) four TEs, Butt has a puncher’s chance if he can stay healthy. I’ve seen some consider Butt to be another Zach Miller type. Like Butt, Miller struggled to play through his own wave of injuries over the years. However, if Butt can string some healthy stretches together, he could be a nice piece to the puzzle. And every piece helps when discussing depth and a 53-man roster.
• No Bears on this list, but seven players will be Bears opponents this year:
• While it’s on our mind, Alyssa Barbieri (Bears Wire) shares notable Bears players who are 25 and younger. And, hey, some of these players are on the offensive side of the ball. Last week, we pointed out have some under-the-radar young studs of their own. All of this should serve as a reminder that the team is nearing a place where it can turn a corner. At least, once it gets out from some contracts that are currently serving as handcuffs.
• I saw this prompt and immediately thought “Allen Robinson!”
Is Keenan Allen the best route runner in the NFL? pic.twitter.com/BZU5BG0c33
— PFF (@PFF) June 28, 2021
• And then I thought about how Keenan Allen’s contract is a decent comp for what Robinson should get. Or perhaps what he should’ve gotten before Allen and the Chargers came to an agreement on an extension. Now I’m upset the Bears and Robinson don’t have a long-term deal. Grumble.
• Running back value has taken a hit around the NFL since teams began determining that they are essentially interchangeable. HOWEVA … it looks like there is true value in the type of rusher a team drafts:
there's a market inefficiency with how NFL teams are drafting running backs: explosiveness is the main thing a rusher can control and it translates well from college to pro however it currently has little influence on a player's draft slot
— Michigan Football Analytics (@mfbanalytics) June 28, 2021
• I’ll clear some time out of my day to read this from Ty Dunne now that they’re all unlocked:
Good morning, all.
The Fight for Erik Kramer's Life is now unlocked for all over at Go Long. Surreal what he's been through the last decade.
— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) June 28, 2021