The Chiefs, Eagles and Bears don’t run the exact same offense. But all three take a similar approach to playing offensive football. They use the pass to open up the run. (Historically, this has been the most consistent criticism of the Andy Reid style, dating back to his early Eagles days.) They want athletic offensive linemen that can move well in space. (Screens are everything.) They value speed over all things on the outside. And perhaps most importantly, they rely on major production from the tight end position.
Travis Kelce, the Chiefs All-Pro tight end, has been targeted 109 times this season. He has 75 catches for nearly 1,000 yards. Without Kelce, the Chiefs offense simply doesn’t work.
Philadelphia’s tight end combination of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert have more than 150 targets. And with the club’s inability to field a healthy receiving corps, these two have come to be the bulk of the their passing attack. Monday night, with their season on the line, Ertz was the best player on the field, catching touchdown passes to both tie and beat the New York Giants.
The Bears paid Trey Burton a bunch of money and drafted Adam Shaheen in the second round. In 2019, the two have combined for 37 total targets. Not catches. Targets. Are there multiple factors to the pair’s lack of production? Sure. But there are two primary ones.
Burton never plays.
Shaheen never plays well.