With Super Bowl expectations heavy on their minds, the Chicago Bears will begin preparations in earnest for the 2019 season this week when they report to Bourbonnais for training camp.
As the team arrives in the Chicago suburb, we’re taking a look at 10 of the players that will have the biggest impact on the Bears’ fortunes in the coming year, and today we’re focusing on tight end Trey Burton.
How 2018 Went for Burton:
In his first season with the Bears, Burton proved to be a solid weapon, hauling in 54 catches for 569 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games for the NFC North Division champions.
Burton finished in the top 10 among NFL tight ends in catches and finished 11th in receiving yards, and his six touchdowns were fourth-most in the league among tight ends, trailing only Eric Ebron, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz.
After a strong regular season, Burton’s season was interrupted by the last-minute injury he suffered prior to the NFC Wild Card Game against the Philadelphia Eagles, which kept him out of action as the Bears were eliminated from postseason contention.
The Biggest Question He’ll Face:
Burton is recovering from offseason sports hernia surgery, so the biggest question he will face in the coming year is whether the injury’s aftermath will hamper him in his preparations for the new year.
With Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker both vying for playing time, Burton is still likely to see the bulk of the work in the Bears’ system. It will be fascinating to see how he fits into Matt Nagy’s offensive scheme, as the club is loaded with weapons at the skill positions. The additions of David Montgomery and Cordarrelle Patterson could lessen some of the load for Burton in short-yardage situations, freeing him up to work more down the field than he did in 2018.
Despite the Bears’ talented roster, Burton is going to be a key to unlocking the passing game for Trubisky, who will want to establish the short-range passing game to go along with bigger plays down the field.
Montgomery will help ease some of the pressure Burton gets from opposing defences in those situations, so his touchdown numbers will likely tick up this season. If he can catch 60 passes and haul in between eight and 10 touchdowns, it will be a very successful season, and a big boost to a Bears offense that is hoping to continue the improvements it showed a season ago.