Bears Eager To See What Adam Shaheen Can Add To Offense

November 07, 2018 - 4:23 pm
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- The Bears drafted quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and tight end Adam Shaheen in the first and seconds rounds in 2017, respectively, believing they would form a young and dynamic tandem for their offense.

Finally, the Bears are inching closer to seeing what potential this connection holds. The second-year tight end Shaheen returned to practice Wednesday, working for the first time since suffering a foot/ankle injury during the preseason in August. While Shaheen is unlikely to play against the Lions on Sunday, he's getting close to game action. Shaheen wasn't listed on the team's injury report Wednesday, but that was expected as he's still officially an inactive player on injured reserve.

The proposition of playing with Shaheen once again has Trubisky excited.

"We’re looking forward to Adam being back," Trubisky said. "(We) have a great connection from last year. He's obviously a big target, runs good routes for his size and can separate. I think he's just a mismatch problem across the board for linebackers and safeties, and when you get a corner on him as well, his size is just too much to handle. Getting him back will just open things up even more for this offense. He’s another option for this option to be even more dynamic.”

Shaheen had an incomplete rookie season, recording 12 receptions for 127 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games. He had finally begun to display comfort at the NFL speed in November and carved out a role within the Bears' offense before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in December, which cost him the final three games.

First-year coach Matt Nagy viewed Shaheen's 6-foot-6, 270-pound frame as a major mismatch within his offense and was eager to see his development lead to a key role this season. In Nagy's view, Shaheen was showing his capabilities during the preseason. Then came the injury during the exhibition game in Denver, which set back their plans and led to the Bears placing Shaheen on injured reserve.

"He's a nice-sized guy, so one-on-one battles he does well with," Nagy said. "But he was also learning how to play tight end and how to run some of the routes that we run in this offense. So, it was tough to see him go down the way that he did, because I thought that he was really one of those guys that was progressing pretty fast. It'll be exciting to get him back out there and see exactly where he's at."

The Bears have used Trey Burton in the U tight end role this season, trusting him as their second-leading target. Burton has recorded 29 receptions for 371 yards and a team-best five touchdown catches in eight games. But the only other Bears tight end to catch a pass is Dion Sims, who has two receptions for nine yards on the season. He's currently in the concussion protocol.

Once Shaheen shows he's ready for a role, he will be counted on as a key piece of this Bears offense.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​