Snap judgment: Bears coach Matt Nagy wants Cole Kmet to play more. So play him.
In the weekly look at the Bears’ snap counts, there are many issues on the offense. Also, how many Bears have played every snap this season?
Picking through the wreckage of the Bears’ 24-10 loss to the Rams on Monday, which felt like a thudding verdict on who they are this season, reveals how difficult it’ll be to fix anything about their offense.
Nick Foles, who put up the team’s worst passer rating of the season at 66.8, paused when asked afterward what exactly is right with this offense.
“That’s a tough question,” he said before pivoting to the team’s earlier comeback victories.
In the Chicago Sun-Times’ weekly look at the Bears’ snap counts, some of the shortfalls are glaring:
Kmet still isn’t playing
Bears coach Matt Nagy just can’t believe Cole Kmet isn’t playing more. If only he knew someone who could change that.
It seems like he’s been talking endlessly about Kmet needing to get a bigger opportunity in the offense, but he played just 32% of the snaps Monday. He got 20 snaps, and Demetrius Harris got 18.
It was Kmet’s third-lowest percentage of the offensive snaps, coming off his season-high of 34% against the Panthers. He’s at 31.6% for the season, trailing Harris at 40.6% and Jimmy Graham at 70.6%.
They don’t trust Miller
Of all the nuggets ESPN’s broadcast crew dropped Monday, how about the one where they revealed that Bears players voted Anthony Miller “most likely to be late to practice”? Ouch.
He’s also the most likely receiver to be late or imprecise on a route, according to his coaches. His position coach Mike Furrey said in 2018 he would hold his breath and hope Miller went to the right spot and in 2019 they couldn’t trust him to run plays correctly. Nagy called him out publicly for it after a Mitch Trubisky interception against the Rams last season.
This season, Nagy has protected him in press conferences but can’t hide the truth on game days. Miller played 59% of the snaps against the Rams on Monday, compared to 81% for rookie Darnell Mooney and 79% for Allen Robinson (he missed one play for a concussion evaluation). Foles targeted Miller five times, and he caught three passes for 20 yards.
Imagine where the Bears would be without defensive stars Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson and Akiem Hicks. Jackson played 99% of the snaps, Mack played 86% and Hicks played 81%. (For comparison, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald played 89% of his team’s defensive snaps.)
Mack and Hicks have persevered tremendously through injuries. Mack has dealt with a knee and back injury, and appeared to hurt his ankle Monday, and still has played 85% of the snaps this season. Hicks has a lot of mileage and has fought injury and illness to play 79%. Monday was his third consecutive game at 80% or higher.
Robert Quinn, conversely, might be struggling. Whether it’s injury (he hasn’t been on the report) or something else, he played 44% of the snaps against the Panthers and 43% against the Rams. He needs to be closer to 60%.
Center Cody Whitehair is probably the Bears’ best offensive lineman and the one they could least afford to lose. He missed a lot of Monday’s game after a calf injury in the second half, but Nagy said he believes he’ll be fine.
Whitehair logged 59% of the snaps before the Bears sent in Sam Mustipher for the other 41%.
Seven games into the season, safety Tashaun Gipson is the only Bear to play 100% of the defensive snaps.
The offense has three, all offensive linemen: right tackle Bobby Massie, left tackle Charles Leno and right guard Germain Ifedi.