In Part I, we saw that both Cole Kmet and Robert Tonyan are used more against zone than man coverage, and today we’re going to look at their involvement in the passing game through a number of other lenses.
Targets by Depth
Let’s start by looking at how frequently and effectively Chicago’s tight ends were targeted at various depths of the field. The table below shows their stats compared to 29 NFL tight ends with 50+ targets in 2022. Areas where they ranked in the top 25% are highlighted in green, while areas in the bottom 25% are highlighted in red. All data is from Pro Football Focus (PFF).
(Side note: sorry if the formatting is poor for the graph. You can click on it to see it in a new window in full if it’s not showing up right for you.)
A few thoughts:
- The first thing that stands out is that both Kmet and Tonyan were heavily targeted on screen passes behind the line of scrimmage. Kmet in particular was good at converting these into yards by running well with the ball after the catch, a skill that he also showed in 2021 and the Bears did a good job of utilizing more frequently in 2022.
- Looking at Kmet beyond the line of scrimmage, he was rarely targeted in the intermediate range, but he was highly productive there when targeted. This closely matches Justin Fields’ passing profile in 2022, so hopefully Fields can target that area more aggressively in 2023 and Kmet can benefit.
- Kmet’s deep passing profile, where he saw a high target volume with average efficiency, also matches Fields’ 2022 performance.
- Where we see Kmet appreciably outperform Fields as a whole is in the short game, where Kmet was around average in pass efficiency while Fields struggled mightily on all of his passes. That matches what we also saw with Fields throwing to other solid pass catchers like Darnell Mooney and David Montgomery, so there is hope that improving the talent on the field around Fields will naturally improve the short game in 2023.
- Part of that improving talent comes from Tonyan, who excelled in the short game but didn’t do much down the field.
- The downfield struggles are a distinct change from 2020, when 35% of Tonyan’s targets were at least ten yards downfield and he caught 75% of those passes for 16.1 yards/target.
- Like we said in Part I, 2023 will be year two after his knee injury, which is when many players return closer to their pre-injury norms, and 2020 (pre-injury) Tonyan was a significantly better player than the 2022 version.