Bears coach Matt Nagy has spent the first six weeks of the season vowing to get rookie tight end Cole Kmet more involved.
Sunday, he finally did. Kmet, who had one catch on three targets all season, caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Foles to cap their first drive against he Panthers.
Kmet was on the field while, bizarrely, red-zone weapon Jimmy Graham was not. The Bears took Graham off the field after a Panthers timeout, and the rookie from Notre Dame — and St. Viator High School —caught his first NFL touchdown.
The Bears have praised Kmet’s blocking this season, but the Bears expect more in the passing game from their second-round pick. Kmet even talked to Foles and Graham on Friday about being patient about the pass game.
“It’s just doing the little things day-in and day-out, you know, staying to that grind and recognizing that there’s a future to it,” Kmet said Friday. “But you’ve got to just really put that work in and understand that it’s all working toward something.”
Earlier in the week, tight ends coach Clancy Barone said ‘it’s not gonna take Cole three years to get his first NFL touchdown, I can promise you that.” He wasn’t concerned.
“I have no worries,” he said. “Cole has no worries. Jimmy Graham has no worries. Demetrius Harris has no worries about Cole. Everyone is on the Cole Kmet train. There’s no worries whatsoever.”