Cole Kmet Finding the Value in OTAs

Cole Kmet believes better understanding of Bears offense from his first OTA work can lay foundation for more receptions in second season.
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Matt Nagy's message about benefits from holding actual organized team activities on the field fell on deaf ears with his defensive starters.

The offense found something different, and tight end Cole Kmet in particular got the message.

Whether it's been on the field in non-contact workouts or working with teammate Jimmy Graham, Kmet's offseason has been more geared toward NFL success than last year when he had 28 rookie receptions.

The OTAs, in particular, have helped Kmet's understanding of the offense and adjusting routes. It was here where tight ends coach Clancy Barone had said Kmet needed to make the next step.

"I think what I've noticed, not having them last year and having them this year, is being able to get timing and kind of cohesion with Andy (Dalton) and the quarterbacks," Kmet said. "Things as simple as cadence and how they articulate in the huddle and what they're seeing and the timing of the throws and the routes are huge. 

"Those are all things that I think have been really beneficial. I've already seen from Day 1 to now as being a gradual increase and it's been really good for me and I'm sure the other receivers as well."

This might also say something about how they just didn't connect with Mitchell Trubisky in past years, but taken on face value it would appear the Bears offense can only be better off for the work.

"Right now, after being a year in the offense and kind of understanding what coach Nagy and coach Lazor are kinda doing with this offense, I'm a lot more comfortable with it," Kmet said. 

It isn't accurate to say Kmet, Mooney, cornerback Jaylon Johnson and the rest of the 2020 draft class had no benefits from OTAs last year. They were held all via Zoom meetings, without working on the field.

"So now we're out here and we're teaching and they're seeing it and they're feeling it and just, it's so, I can't explain the benefits of being here in person and what that means," Nagy said. "And it really makes sure that you don't take it for granted the other times that you've had, opportunities to be with these guys. 

So, I mean I'm doing everything I can to eliminate Zoom meetings and we're just trying to teach as much as we can outside and doing class on the grass."

Kmet's offseason started well before OTAs.

"I'm stronger, I feel like I'm quicker and faster right now," Kmet said. "Just a lot of confidence going in with the offense and in myself."

Part of that included a short period where he went to visit tight end Jimmy Graham and worked with him on strength, conditioning and fundamentals.

"Obviously, took a couple weeks off after the season was over," Kmet said. "I was taking some classes to try to finish my degree at Notre Dame, as well. Took some online classes. 

"While I was doing that I was kind of hitting the weights and kind of getting in the groove of things. Started coming back here (to Halas Hall) in the middle of March. And then just kind of have been doing my thing here. I went out for a week and actually saw Jimmy, which was good. We did some stuff. Been sticking to it here and it's been good so far."

Kmet hopes to further increase his knowledge of the position at a tight end summit this summer being put on by George Kittle, Travis Kelce and former Bears/Panthers/ Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen.

When it all comes together, Kmet believes it will look different than last year when he averaged only 8.7 yards per catch and was on the field for more snaps than the other Bears tight ends but made 22 fewer catches than Graham (50).

"Just looking to kinda hit downfield passes, things like that, getting the tight end involved that way, doing things along those lines," Kmet said. "And obviously, continue to be a presence in the run game. as well. Just kinda being able to set the tone in the run game and building off play action and being that reliable target for Andy."

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