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How Did the Bears Use Their Receivers & Tight Ends in 2018?

| May 28th, 2019

The offseason is the perfect time to do a deep dive into what exactly we saw on the field last year, so today I want to look more closely at how Chicago used their WRs and TEs in 2018.

Where They Lined Up

Let’s start by looking at where these players lined up, which can illustrate just how versatile they were (or were not). All data comes from The Quant Edge except for Tarik Cohen’s, which is from Pro Football Focus.



A few thoughts:

  • The Bears generally moved their main weapons all over the place. Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen – who spent about 1/3 of his snaps out of the backfield – were all extremely versatile.
  • We also see that versatility in some of the depth pieces, most notably TEs Adam Shaheen and Ben Brauneker and WR Josh Bellamy. Dion Sims, on the other hand, was pretty much always an in-line TE.
  • The other piece who didn’t move much was Anthony Miller, spending the vast majority of his time in the slot. This is because he played almost exclusively at 3rd WR alongside Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. His versatility was demonstrated in different ways, as we’ll see below, and I think he’ll get moved around a lot more next year after usurping Gabriel as the WR2.

How They Were Used

Now I want to look at what routes the main options – Robinson, Gabriel, Burton, and Miller – got their targets on. The table below has the percentage of targets each player received on various routes, with the routes arranged by descending order of total targets. Numbers that are low compared to peers are highlighted in red, while numbers that are high are highlighted in green. All data from The Quant Edge.

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