Why Kmet is optimistic Bears offense will improve in 2021 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
There are so many questions surrounding the Bears offense that it’s easy to doubt if the team can make strides and score more points in 2021. Who will play quarterback? Will that quarterback have a legit No. 1 wide receiver to throw to if the team can’t come to terms with Allen Robinson? Will the offensive line pick up where it left off at the end of the season, or will they struggle to find a suitable starting unit again?
Despite all those questions, Bears tight end Cole Kmet told NBC Sports Chicago earlier this month that he’s optimistic about the offense. For Kmet, it all starts up front.
“I think everyone can kind of sense the culture we were starting to build at the end of the year offensively,” Kmet said on the “Countdown to Kickoff” show. “In terms of being physical up front, we had good offensive line cohesion towards the end of the year, along with the tight ends. I thought we were clicking on all cylinders with that. Everyone saw the way that David Montgomery runs, and that sparks a fire in everybody. The lineman love to see that. That just puts more on the receivers and tight ends to want to block for him down the field. I think that stuff is kind of contagious.
“We’re looking to continue that kind of culture of physicality and great passion for the game. I think as things sort themselves out this offseason, that’s something we’re looking to build on. We’re all very optimistic about this upcoming year.”
There’s reason to be optimistic about Kmet’s progression in 2021 as well. After a slow start to the season, Kmet finally broke through for his first touchdown catch in Week 6. That moment was a turning point for Kmet’s season. Before Week 6, he played around 30% of the Bears’ offensive snaps. But after Week 6 that number began to climb, from 43% in Week 8, to 79% in Week 11, and finally to a season-high 100% in Week 14. Kmet’s production increased with the extra playing time too. Across the Bears’ first five games he only caught one ball on three targets. But from Week 6 on, he came down with 27 receptions on 41 targets. He set a season high with seven catches in Week 17.
But Kmet’s still far from hitting his ceiling as an NFL tight end. Now, he’s back to work, hoping to improve upon the little things that can make a big difference on the field.
“Getting back in the swing of things in terms of lifting,” Kmet said. “You know, getting bigger, getting faster, getting stronger. Then as things progress, start working on the fundamentals of football with the skill work. Whether it’s route running, pass protection, blocking footwork, all that type of stuff. I’m excited to really have all this time to take this next step going into year two.”