To say it's been a slow start for Bears' tight end Cole Kmet would be putting it mildly. Through the first quarter of the season, Kmet's role in the Bears' offense has been – at least on paper – non-existent. The 43rd overall pick in last year's draft currently has one catch on three targets for 12 yards; Kmet had been on the field for roughly 30% of the offensive plays through the first three games before setting a career-low in snaps (15) against Indianapolis. The Bears have always preached patience with the rookie, but Matt Nagy admitted on Tuesday that he needs to be more involved.
"I would say to start off, that 15 is not enough," Nagy said. "He needs to be out there more, No. 1. So we’re aware of that. He is doing a really good job at taking in this offense, which we knew from the get-go that he was gonna do. So now that he knows the tempo of the games, the adjustments — things that go on within the game, I feel like he’s ready.
"He’s gonna get more opportunities as we go. He’s earned that right. That’ll be our job as coaches, to make sure it’s more than 15."
Despite lackluster production in the passing game, the Bears have been thrilled with Kmet's progression as a blocker, an area that many people – including Kmet himself – felt needed improvement. Tight ends coach Clancy Barone pointed to Kmet's "strong hands" and "thick lower body" when talking about the impressive power that he's been able to play with, while also noting that "Cole is very detailed in his work, and he takes a lot of pride in doing everything right."
Being a solid run-blocking tight end isn't what gets you drafted in the 2nd round, which the Bears and Kmet are obviously well-aware of. Kmet conceded that the transition from Notre Dame to the NFL hasn't always gone smoothly, and that he's learning to feel comfortable in the role he has.
"Yeah, it takes a lot of patience, you know, going from being the guy, to kind of being in a learning position right now," he said back in September. "With, obviously, two vets ahead of me in terms of Demetrius [Harris] and Jimmy [Graham] is something that I gotta learn to be patient with, something that I’m fully embracing right now.
"So yeah, it definitely takes a lot of patience. I just gotta use it to my advantage during the week. Being able to learn from these guys is just invaluable. So just kind of making the most of it right now and continue to improve each day and staying patient during this whole process."