The TE Position -- What are we doing?

The latest Bears news and talk

Moderators: wab, RING4CHI, Pagan

User avatar
Bears Whiskey Nut
Hall of Famer
Location: Berwyn, IL
Posts: 7609
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:06 am

The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:03 am

I think more than any other position on offense, this position has the most questions. Yes it will be interesting to see how they pare down the talent at the WR position, and even the RB position for that matter. We know who the starting five are on the line, and Biscuits is the QB.

But what the &%$@ is going on at TE? We have eight in camp right now. We can say that Burton is a lock. But beyond that? Some simple questions;

1. Are we going to get ANYTHING out of Shaheen this year, or is that experiment done?
2. Is Sowell's move to TE real, or is he a camp body? In pictures he looks slimmed down and the real deal. He's 6'7", so if he's legit, that's a weapon. Also he can most surely block better than any other TE.
3. Braunaker showed flashes last year, but I don't see him as a long term talent at the position.
4. By all accounts, the Dax Raymond UFA signing was a major coup by Pace. He was slated for the 5th or 6th round. He's a big dude too.

I'm thinking we keep three TE's. Any ideas?
User avatar
UOK
Site Admin
Location: Champaign, IL
Posts: 20261
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:07 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:22 am

It's not so simple, really. Injuries and special teams will make the difference.

Braunecker is a bigtime special teams presence, but his hands are so-so.

Shaheen's lower back is "sore," but if he keeps missing time it could thwart his spot on the depth chart. His draft status is mostly what's keeping him on the team.

Raymond's preseason will be huge. If he can ball, the Bears would be stupid to cut him over somebody like Sowell or Braunecker.

Sowell is much harder to diagnose. He can play tackle, he's huge, but he's not a tight end. If Trubisky isn't 100% locked in with his location, Sowell will probably drop or otherwise misplay what most proper TEs would catch. I've never seen a situation like this before and it's rough to predict because Nagy's offense is so atypical.

The other guys - Bunting, Richardson, and Horsted - will likely all be sent along, as the world turns.
Image
HurricaneBear
Assistant Coach
Posts: 634
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:56 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:22 am

I think Burton and Sowell are locks. Burton for obvious reasons, Sowell based on the way Nagy talks about the guy. Nagy seems to love him Sowell and I doubt they would have asked him to slim down just to cut him. I think Nagy has a plan for Sowell and he will be on the roster and be a regular in the goalline/short yardage packages.

Shaheen has been so disappointing. I was so excited by that draft pick and injuries have just derailed his career. If he could ever stay healthy I believe he could begin to build something but if he can't I wouldn't be surprised if he's off the team after this season. I think he has at least this season to prove himself capable of making a roster when this season should really be a possible breakout season of a rising star. So disappointing how little he has done.

I think we keep 4 TE so the last spot is Braunecker's unless Raymond(or another) forces their hand. I am sure they'd love to stash Raymond(or the best of the rest) on the practice squad this season.

For what we all saw as a position of strength last year the TE group has really been underwhelming this season. Thankfully we are overflowing with weapons at WR and RB so I expect our offense to feature those positions far more this year than TE. Hopefully Burton can stay healthy and continue to grow as a player. I don't know why but i've always felt something was.....off I guess? about Burton. I just hope he can be a solid or better starter that stays healthy because we can't be starting Braunecker or Sowell at TE
User avatar
wab
Mod
Posts: 19535
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:49 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:42 am

The Bears will keep 4 TE's. It's a little too early in camp to write of Shaheen, but it's also a very important camp for him. Going into his 3rd year it's time to show progress. Especially since (by all accounts) Raymond has looked better as a UDFA in camp so far than Shaheen ever has.

Still, at the end of the day I think it's Burton, Shaheen, Sowell, and Raymond. Personally, I'm kind of done with Shaheen and would keep Braunecker, but I'm not in charge and he is still only a phone call away.
User avatar
Bears Whiskey Nut
Hall of Famer
Location: Berwyn, IL
Posts: 7609
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:06 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:56 am

wab wrote:Still, at the end of the day I think it's Burton, Shaheen, Sowell, and Raymond. Personally, I'm kind of done with Shaheen and would keep Braunecker, but I'm not in charge and he is still only a phone call away.
I hope they keep four. I also find the prospect of Sowell very interesting. The dude is 6'7", and has fairly good hands. He's a weapon at the goal line. Dax Raymond could be something special. The fact that he went undrafted, was a surprise to everyone.
User avatar
wab
Mod
Posts: 19535
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:49 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:43 pm

Bears Whiskey Nut wrote:
wab wrote:Still, at the end of the day I think it's Burton, Shaheen, Sowell, and Raymond. Personally, I'm kind of done with Shaheen and would keep Braunecker, but I'm not in charge and he is still only a phone call away.
I hope they keep four. I also find the prospect of Sowell very interesting. The dude is 6'7", and has fairly good hands. He's a weapon at the goal line.
So I guess Sowell was playing OT at like 280 and has lost like 20lbs to gain some quickness.
User avatar
Bears Whiskey Nut
Hall of Famer
Location: Berwyn, IL
Posts: 7609
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:06 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:49 pm

wab wrote:
Bears Whiskey Nut wrote:
wab wrote:Still, at the end of the day I think it's Burton, Shaheen, Sowell, and Raymond. Personally, I'm kind of done with Shaheen and would keep Braunecker, but I'm not in charge and he is still only a phone call away.
I hope they keep four. I also find the prospect of Sowell very interesting. The dude is 6'7", and has fairly good hands. He's a weapon at the goal line.
So I guess Sowell was playing OT at like 280 and has lost like 20lbs to gain some quickness.
He was listed on the Bears website as 6'7" and 312lbs. If he's slimmed down to the 260's, that would be impressive. The one shot I saw of him in the training camp pictures, there was no gut, and his arms were a bit ripped. It will be interesting to watch. It would be funny if a once mediocre OT, turned into a weapon at TE.

Image
User avatar
Mikefive
Head Coach
Location: Valparaiso, IN, USA
Posts: 3153
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:33 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:23 pm

I'll be paying attention to the TEs when I go to camp this week.

- Burton is what he is.
- I'm with others on Shaheen. He's looking more and more like a dud. The last time anybody said anything good about him was TC last year. That was a year ago and he was healthy enough to play half the season. He'd be in big trouble if not for being a R2 pick.
- I don't get the love for Sowell. Sure, Nagy says nice things about him. But being a nice guy doesn't make him one of the 53 best players in camp. We're talking about a guy who has almost no experience at TE. To say he's a lock to make it seems like quite a stretch.
- Braunecker is a 4 phase STs guy who adapted quickly to the offense. His versatility has value.
- Raymond sure sounds like he's been good, but it's just OTAs. He has a shot.

My guess is Burton, Shaheen, Braunecker and Raymond, although if Shaheen's back doesn't cooperate, I could see him on IR, which could get Sowell in.
Mikefive's theory: The only time you KNOW that a sports team player, coach or management member is being 100% honest is when they're NOT reciting "the company line".

Go back to leather helmets, NFL.
User avatar
Bears Whiskey Nut
Hall of Famer
Location: Berwyn, IL
Posts: 7609
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:06 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:29 pm

Mikefive wrote:I'll be paying attention to the TEs when I go to camp this week.

- Burton is what he is.
- I'm with others on Shaheen. He's looking more and more like a dud. The last time anybody said anything good about him was TC last year. That was a year ago and he was healthy enough to play half the season. He'd be in big trouble if not for being a R2 pick.
- I don't get the love for Sowell. Sure, Nagy says nice things about him. But being a nice guy doesn't make him one of the 53 best players in camp. We're talking about a guy who has almost no experience at TE. To say he's a lock to make it seems like quite a stretch.
- Braunecker is a 4 phase STs guy who adapted quickly to the offense. His versatility has value.
- Raymond sure sounds like he's been good, but it's just OTAs. He has a shot.

My guess is Burton, Shaheen, Braunecker and Raymond, although if Shaheen's back doesn't cooperate, I could see him on IR, which could get Sowell in.
I'm not sure Sowell is a lock, but he's intriguing. I would much rather see Sowell than Shaheen make the roster, but I understand draft status considerations.
User avatar
KhalilSackDaddy
Practice Squad
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:11 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:27 pm

Burton will be here for awhile the contract dictates it.
Sowell will make it, he apparently solo blocked Mack, so even with the lost weight he still is capable of solo blocks. He's to versatile to not make the team.
If Shaheen cannot stay healthy, he'll make the team Pace isn't one to give up on early draft picks, but if he cannot find the field, the guys I'm about to talk about could pressure him.
Dax and Braunecker Buntin and Ellis Richard have all popped up in good ways on twitter, which is why I wonder about Shaheen if he cannot get healthy. Braunecker apparently has been on a lot of ST's at multiple positions.
User avatar
ursamagnus
Practice Squad
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:19 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:46 pm

KhalilSackDaddy wrote:Burton will be here for awhile the contract dictates it.
Sowell will make it, he apparently solo blocked Mack, so even with the lost weight he still is capable of solo blocks. He's to versatile to not make the team.
If Shaheen cannot stay healthy, he'll make the team Pace isn't one to give up on early draft picks, but if he cannot find the field, the guys I'm about to talk about could pressure him.
Dax and Braunecker Buntin and Ellis Richard have all popped up in good ways on twitter, which is why I wonder about Shaheen if he cannot get healthy. Braunecker apparently has been on a lot of ST's at multiple positions.
Sowell, if he can be even average as a backup Y TE, but also emergency backup T, 2-4 phase special teamer, goalline package guy, that's a solid dude to have. That likely allows us to maybe keep 1 fewer OT on the active roster with Sowell available as an in-game emergency sub.
User avatar
southdakbearfan
Head Coach
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 2092
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:23 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:56 pm

Dax will depend on special teams but easily could beat braunecker. Dax I think has the upper hand with athleticism and he was a special teams guy in college.

Shaheen, burton and Sowell are locks barring injury.

They don’t need very much production beyond burton from the position in the passing game imo when you look at all the options. If burton goes down I look for Nagy to scheme even more hybrid roles with Patterson and wims potentially taking move tight end snaps in that situation.

With Robinson, Miller, Gabriel, burton, Patterson, Cohen, Davis, Montgomery, Ridley all catching balls. Not many are left for the blocking tight end position except limited situations.

The way Nagy schemes I am not too worried, especially with Patterson being the offense Swiss Army knife.
User avatar
Bearfanuk
Pro Bowler
Location: England
Posts: 490
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:48 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:08 pm

You have to think there is some type of gentlemens agreement that sees sowell make the 53. Dude can not play OT this year through the changes he has made at the bears request. If he is cut that’s him out of football for the year
User avatar
mmmc_35
Head Coach
Posts: 4672
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:25 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:18 pm

Bearfanuk wrote:You have to think there is some type of gentlemens agreement that sees sowell make the 53. Dude can not play OT this year through the changes he has made at the bears request. If he is cut that’s him out of football for the year
Agree and they wouldn't ask him to change if there wasn't a plan for him. Cowards position change wasnt as concrete. He had not been on the team like. Sowell however took live snaps on occasion.
User avatar
Bears Whiskey Nut
Hall of Famer
Location: Berwyn, IL
Posts: 7609
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:06 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:02 pm

One thing is certain. None of us on this board have been to every Bears practice. We haven't seen the players horsing around, and Bradley Sowell possibly catching passes from Trubisky, or any of the other QB's. We don't know what Nagy knows about football, or Ryan Pace for that matter, or what they see in Sowell. What we DO know is that they thought it important enough, that he drop weight, transform his body, and switch positions. After a 12-4 season, and Shaheen looking like a bust. I'm going to throw some faith into their plan. They might just surprise us.
User avatar
Mikefive
Head Coach
Location: Valparaiso, IN, USA
Posts: 3153
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:33 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:19 am

mmmc_35 wrote:Agree and they wouldn't ask him to change if there wasn't a plan for him.
Here's the plan Brad. You're going to get cut almost certainly as an OL guy, because you just can't keep enough weight on. But you can catch the ball a little bit. So lose as much weight as you can to help your mobility and we'll see if we can make a blocking TE out of you. What do you say?

Sowell is a bottom of the roster guy. And Nagy has had to cut a lot of those guys, despite their commitment to the program, work ethic, etc. Mizzell was on the roster last year and based on his PT, Nagy has to like him too. But he changed positions and will go away and maybe join another team. Maybe.

"But they asked him to lose all that weight!" Right. Because he wasn't heavy enough to be much of an OL guy. His weight was a problem. So they're trying to make that into less of a problem by switching positions. How that equates to some super secret handshake deal that he makes the team just escapes me. :confused:
Mikefive's theory: The only time you KNOW that a sports team player, coach or management member is being 100% honest is when they're NOT reciting "the company line".

Go back to leather helmets, NFL.
User avatar
Atkins&Rebel
MVP
Posts: 1120
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:56 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:49 am

I don't think we have another TE that can block as good as Sowell. He only carries a $300,000 dead cap value and would save 1.5 mil if cut, but for the extra blocker, I don't think he goes anywhere due to his value as a goal line and special teams blocker and the occasional target on play action passes.
I will kill you if you cut me at the knees. You will drink with me when invited and stay til I say so. We only listen to American Music. I make men nervous with just my presence. I expect an apology if you hold. I throw linemen at QB's. Believe the Lore!
User avatar
Mikefive
Head Coach
Location: Valparaiso, IN, USA
Posts: 3153
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:33 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:32 am

Atkins&Rebel wrote:I don't think we have another TE that can block as good as Sowell. He only carries a $300,000 dead cap value and would save 1.5 mil if cut, but for the extra blocker, I don't think he goes anywhere due to his value as a goal line and special teams blocker and the occasional target on play action passes.
There's some logic there. But he has to be a threat to catch a ball with an NFL defender treating him like a TE, instead of a gadget play where he's a blocker declared eligible that nobody expects. That's a rather significant hurdle for him to jump. And maybe he can, I don't know.
Mikefive's theory: The only time you KNOW that a sports team player, coach or management member is being 100% honest is when they're NOT reciting "the company line".

Go back to leather helmets, NFL.
User avatar
Atkins&Rebel
MVP
Posts: 1120
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:56 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:09 am

Mikefive wrote:
Atkins&Rebel wrote:I don't think we have another TE that can block as good as Sowell. He only carries a $300,000 dead cap value and would save 1.5 mil if cut, but for the extra blocker, I don't think he goes anywhere due to his value as a goal line and special teams blocker and the occasional target on play action passes.
There's some logic there. But he has to be a threat to catch a ball with an NFL defender treating him like a TE, instead of a gadget play where he's a blocker declared eligible that nobody expects. That's a rather significant hurdle for him to jump. And maybe he can, I don't know.
I don't foresee him being the only TE on the field, lining up and asked to run a straight up pass pattern against a starting LB/S. However, if he is asked to do so, he likely would have shown in practice that he can catch contested balls against the likes of Trevathan, Smith, Jackson and HCD.

I do see him in 2 TE sets, blocking for the most part and leaking out in a flood the zone scheme or another of Nagy's designed get into space patterns, to catch an uncontested ball.

So I'm not worried
I will kill you if you cut me at the knees. You will drink with me when invited and stay til I say so. We only listen to American Music. I make men nervous with just my presence. I expect an apology if you hold. I throw linemen at QB's. Believe the Lore!
User avatar
wab
Mod
Posts: 19535
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:49 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:55 am

Nagy's offense is built around confusion and misdirection, so a player like Sowell has value. If they asked him to make this huge change and they cut him after camp, it pretty much kills his career unless some other team thinks they can use him as a TE...because no one is bringing in a 255lb OT to start the season.

You'd have to think they said hey man, we are asking you to switch positions because we have a plan for you. Not, hey man as a last ditch effort to keep you on the roster we are going to ask you to lose 40lbs and switch positions...and if it doesn't work out you will probably be out of the NFL for at least 2019.
User avatar
Bears Whiskey Nut
Hall of Famer
Location: Berwyn, IL
Posts: 7609
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:06 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:54 pm

Watch. In the first game vs. the Pack. Sowell will catch a 20yd pass from Biscuits, and rumble into the end zone for a tuddy.
User avatar
AZ_Bearfan
Player of the Month
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:49 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:21 pm

Nagy is flipping the script. I don't think he views roster-building in the same way it's been done historically. Just watch, if this works we'll see Goon Bay moving a swing tackle to TE next off-season.
User avatar
The Marshall Plan
MVP
Posts: 1365
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:47 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:46 am

Bears Whiskey Nut wrote:Watch. In the first game vs. the Pack. Sowell will catch a 20yd pass from Biscuits, and rumble into the end zone for a tuddy.
That would be outstanding.

Sowell fills a lot of needs at TE. He can block. He can catch. At 6'7" he's a huge target. That presents a lot of options in the red zone and short yardage.
Image
sturf
Journeyman
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 1:32 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:12 am

Sowell was the surprise of the training camp practices. He really lost weight and moves well. If you look at the big TE's Shaheen, Sowell, and Bunting it wasn't obvious which was an OT last year. He clearly is making the team based on the 1st team reps he is getting in 2 TE packages.

Braunecker gets some first team reps as well in 1 TE packages. Last year in training camp it looked like he dropped some weight and the athleticism he tested as was showing up. He might have dropped a bit more. He's very much Burton's backup at this point.

Ian Bunting was the 5th best TE and the player most likely to get a 5th TE on the roster, although practice squad is far more likely. Dax Raymond looked slow and was strickly a 3rd team player. Ellis Richardson was making plays as a developmental U TE candidate and is ahead of Raymond.
User avatar
wab
Mod
Posts: 19535
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:49 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:11 am

Interesting take on Raymond. I've heard other reports that he's stood out so far during camp.
sturf
Journeyman
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 1:32 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:18 am

wab wrote:Interesting take on Raymond. I've heard other reports that he's stood out so far during camp.
I was shocked to see where he was on the depth chart when I started watching practice. I assumed he would be in the lead among the undrafted TEs. but he was no better than 7th on the depth chart among the 8 TE's and only getting 3rd team reps. Once I started watching practice I understood. He catches the ball, but he just looks slow compared to the other guys.
User avatar
Bears Whiskey Nut
Hall of Famer
Location: Berwyn, IL
Posts: 7609
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:06 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:39 pm

I am holding out hope that the Sowell project works. I love stories like that.
User avatar
ursamagnus
Practice Squad
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:19 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:42 pm

Bears Whiskey Nut wrote:I am holding out hope that the Sowell project works. I love stories like that.
Define "works" -- I think we're already there. He's that 4th TE/blocking TE who is still going to run routes to keep people honest and will catch a ball here or there. In a pinch, he could be an emergency lineman. He plays on most if not all the special teams units. That's a solid unit to have on your 53.
User avatar
G08
Hall of Famer
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 14802
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:34 pm

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:08 pm

I think TE might be a weakness on this team right now. I like Burton but after that it's a lot of nothing.

Shaheen has promise but he has looked stiff and can't stay healthy.

Braunecker seems like he's JAG.

Dax Raymond is a prospect whose skill set I love, but that is based on college "tape".

Wouldn't shock me to see us make a move once final cuts happen and make this a focal point in FA/the draft in 2020.
Image

"I don't care about numbers, I care about letters" -- Matt Nagy
User avatar
UOK
Site Admin
Location: Champaign, IL
Posts: 20261
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:07 am

Re: The TE Position -- What are we doing?

Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:47 am

Today's TE notes:
  • Shaheen warms up and returns to practice
  • Shaheen aggravates injury, removes pads, and goes to sideline, done for the day
  • Ian Bunting is working with the first team for whatever reason
  • Braunecker drops back-to-back end zone catches
  • Burton makes big end zone catch in heavy coverage
Image

Return to “Halas Hall”