Cole Kmet optimistic about potential of Bears’ offense
The third-year tight end is encouraged that Luke Getsy’s use of Justin Fields’ mobility can make a difference. “Justin’s on the move a lot, and he does well with that ... you see the types of throws he can make on the run and off-schedule ... and it gets exciting.”
The Bears are still in the early stages of installing Luke Getsy’s offense. But already, tight end Cole Kmet can see how it could benefit him.
“You see how the tight ends involve in the run scheme, and off of that, the play-action movements and those types of things can be really advantageous for tight ends,” Kmet said. “You see guys around the league in similar offenses, whether it was [Robert] Tonyan a couple of years back with Green Bay. Or you look at what George [Kittle] has done in San Francisco.
“You even look at some things with Minnesota and how they’ve used tight ends the past five years. You see these things and you can see how tight ends can really get involved in this offense. I’m totally bought in to what’s going on here and I’m excited for it.”
There’s still a long way to go and a lot for Getsy to prove. But if his offense becomes everything that Matt Nagy’s did not, the 23-year-old Kmet should be in a prime spot to produce.
Of all the offensive receiving weapons on the roster, including wide receivers, tight ends and running backs, he’s the highest-drafted player — taken 43rd overall in the second round of the 2020 draft. Rookie Velus Jones is the highest-drafted wide receiver (71st overall in the third round this year). David Montgomery is the highest-drafted running back (73rd overall in the third round in 2019).
So far, Kmet’s production has been modest — in impact if not actual numbers — especially compared to the expectations of the Nagy offense. Kmet had 60 receptions for 612 yards (10.2 average) and no touchdowns last season. He had 28 receptions for 243 yards (8.7 average) and two touchdowns as a rookie in 2020.
Kmet was optimistic about those offenses as well. Asked if there are indications this optimism will be realized more than in the past, he hinted at what could be a key element of Getsy’s offense that differentiates it from Nagy’s — better use of quarterback Justin Fields’ mobility.
“We’ll see,” Kmet said. “But — I don’t want to get too much into detail with it — but Justin’s on the move a lot, and I think he does well with that. That’s been exciting to see and you see the types of throws he can make, with his legs and on the run and off-schedule. No pads right now, but you can see that type of stuff and it gets exciting. It’s been a lot of fun seeing him move and doing things like that.”
Kmet probably could use the fresh start. Expectations for him were naturally exaggerated from the start. He was the Bears’ top draft pick in 2020, even though he wasn’t taken until the second round. And in Nagy’s Andy Reid-inspired offense, comparisons inevitably were made with Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, the most productive tight end in yards per game (70.9) in the Super Bowl era.
Kmet admitted he feels like he’s “starting all over again” but is optimistic that coach Matt Eberflus and Getsy — and Fields — can put the Bears in the right direction. Fields ultimately could be the key factor. That’s why he and wide receiver Darnell Mooney worked with Fields in the offseason.
“It’s not so much timing and getting a feel for each other on the field, but more just relationship. I think that’s important, having a good relationship with the guys,” Kmet said. “Me and Mooney and Justin met up this offseason — it was good bonding and good feel for each other and I think that goes to the field.”
And for what it’s worth, Kmet already has noticed growth in Fields.
“Man, he’s confident,” Kmet said. “He’s confident coming in, so it’s been fun to be out there with him. Confident in the huddle, in his calls. Taking initiative with everybody, and that’s been a lot of fun to be a part of.”