Chicago Bears: Is it finally Adam Shaheen’s time to shine?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Adam Shaheen‘s productive first half will hopefully be a sign of things to come for the rest of this Chicago Bears season.

Following his rather disappointing preseason, Adam Shaheen has been largely absent from the Chicago Bears offense this season.

Drafted with the 45th-overall pick to be a monstrous yet athletic tight end in the mold of Rob Gronkowski, Shaheen’s need to develop as a blocker and inconsistency in doing anything involving running routes, from catching the football to simply not tripping over his own feet, needed work. As such, he’s spent all year behind Zach Miller and Dion Sims on the depth chart.

Now, Miller is gone with a gruesome leg injury suffered against the New Orleans Saints, his career likely over. And Sims took ill over the bye week and missed last week’s game. Even when he does play, he’s not a huge receiving threat anyway.

And just like that, the door has opened for Shaheen to prove himself at the NFL level this year.

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Perhaps Sunday was a step toward preparing him to seize the opportunity.

Welcome signs and future uses

With Sims out, Shaheen started ahead of Daniel Brown and immediately got on the board with his second and third catches of the season. His second grab of the day, a 31-yarder on a bootleg, showcased his athleticism and threat in the open field.

After watching him slowly earn snaps by improving his blocking, it’s about time to see what Shaheen can do as a receiver.

The Bears have toyed with flexing him out as a receiver in the past two games, including putting him on the outside on occasion. He only caught passes from the traditional Y-tight end spot on Sunday, but that’s worth monitoring.

Particularly in the red zone, the Bears can use his size to potentially create mismatches with linebackers or safeties. Plus, they can always think about going to this well again.

However they use him, the Chicago Bears must explore what they have in Shaheen the rest of this season. Even before losing Miller, he was earning his way onto the field anyway but wasn’t getting opportunities. Now, he must have them.

Now the Bears have a few receivers in Dontrelle Inman and Kendall Wright that can beat man coverage, it’s time to unleash their rookie pass-catching tight end. Doing so can open up the flat (as seen above) as well as the seams and middle of the field for their receivers.

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No one will blame the Bears for sticking with a run-heavy scheme, given that Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen are arguably their best offensive players. But when they look to throw, they need to put as many useful playmakers on the field as they can and exploit matchups.

Time to see if Shaheen can do that for you this year.