With Dion Sims (concussion) and Adam Shaheen (sprained ankle/foot) out indefinitely, the Bears’ tight end depth will be tested Saturday against the Chiefs. But so far, Ben Braunecker and Daniel Brown have filled the void in practice behind No. 1 target Trey Burton.
Braunecker, an undrafted free agent from Harvard in 2016, did not have a reception last season after having four for 41 yards as a rookie.
Brown, acquired from waivers from the Ravens in 2016, had 13 receptions for 129 yards in nine games after Zach Miller’s injury last season.
But both players seem to be benefiting by playing in Matt Nagy’s tight end-friendly offense.
“You saw what Nagy did with [Travis] Kelce in Kansas City,” the 6-4, 252-pound Braunecker said. “It really opens things up in the middle for big, athletic tight ends to run down the seam. There are a lot of quarterback reads where the tight end is No. 1 in the progression, so it’s an extremely tight end-friendly offense. It’s awesome.”
The 6-5, 247-pound Brown was a wide receiver at James Madison before signing with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He had five receptions for 90 yards on Aug. 9 against the Bengals, including a 56-yard catch.
“It’s a fun offense for a tight end,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of answers everywhere. If you’re looking one way, there could be some hope on the other side. You just have to make the plays when they count.”