Joniak's Journal: More Is In Store For Bears' Trey Burton

Burton is averaging 16.0 yards per catch and could have an expanded role.

Jeff Joniak
October 04, 2018 - 5:19 pm
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(WBBM Newsradio) The Bears (3-1) are on a bye this week, but there's still plenty to write about.

First impression

Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September. He's wreaking havoc with 17 tackles, five sacks, four forced fumbles, an interception returned for a touchdown, four quarterback hurries, three tackles-for-loss, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery that make him worthy of the honor. The best part of this story is that Mack is just getting started with the Bears, as he'll be capable of more when his chemistry with the rest of the defense comes together. A stretch of four home games over the next six scheduled contests will give him a chance to use the crowd to his advantage when he screams off the edge. 

Second thought

Bears tight end Trey Burton is the player whom I'm watching with great anticipation after a month of play. He's a weapon whom I expect to see produce more when the matchups call for a move tight end with the ability to stretch the defense. His 11 catches have produced 176 yards (16.0 yards per catch), including the 47-yard touchdown against Tampa Bay. Burton’s blocking has been efficient as well, triggering some plays that are absent from his stat sheet but critically important. It allows him to be on the field without signaling to the defense why he's out there on any given down. 

Third degree

Everything seems to be going well for second-year tight end Adam Shaheen as he rehabs his foot injury. He's still in a walking boot but expects to come off injured reserve after Week 8.

"He’s good," tight end coach Kevin Gilbride said. "He’s been very engaged for someone who knows he’s not going to be playing for right now. He wouldn’t necessarily have to, but he understands that when he’s going to have a role in this offense, so he wants to be prepared for it."

Shaheen’s development is one of the keys to the overall growth of the offense, given his athletic traits, his ability to rumble after the catch, his blocking and his size advantage in the red zone.  

Fourth-and-short

Eric Kush started each of the first four games at left guard for the Bears, but Iowa rookie James Daniels earned snaps against Tampa Bay by entering the game on the Bears third series. He did well with his assignments. He was powerful at the point of attack. He pulled. He protected especially well on Mitchell Trubisky’s third touchdown toss to Allen Robinson while dealing with perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and rookie defensive tackle Vita Vea.  

Now, the job is open, with the in-week performance and preparation deciding who will start moving forward.

"Usually you don’t do things in games better than you do them in practice," offensive line coach Harry Hiestand said.

"Once he got leveled off and was seeing things well in practice and his technique, that earned him a spot to play."

At 21, Daniels is a cornerstone for the future of the Bears' offensive line and will see more and more action as Heistand sees fit. 

"There’s nothing he can’t do," Hiestand said. "He just has to learn to do it consistently play after play."

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.