During the Bears 20-12 loss against the Saints, longtime owner of the starting tight end spot Zach Miller’s could have possibly lost his left leg in a gruesome injury after “dropping” (the ref’s words, not mine) a touchdown dime from Trubisky. And that’s not even exaggerating, what was initially diagnosed as a dislocated knee turned out to be a ruptured artery that doctors have miraculously repaired.
The cover32 Bears staff’s thoughts and prayers are with Miller during this time.
More than likely now, Miller’s season is over. There’s no official word but a ruptured artery on top of the already dislocated knee could even be as far as career-ending, especially if worse turns into worst and he is left with permanent damage in his left leg. We’re all praying this isn’t the case but as harsh as it sounds to think about football right now, this does leave the Bears without their top tight end.
It was already a stagnant offense hampered by predictable playcalling. A solid tight end can cover up a lot of shortcomings of an offense, giving a security blanket and a reliable target magnified by having a rookie quarterback under center. Miller wasn’t in a career year but with 236 yards and two touchdowns to his name, he was sturdy enough to have a sizable effect on the offense.
Without a competent receiving corps around him, Trubisky is forced to work the ball to the backfield and tight ends when given the rare chance to throw the ball. And now the second most targeted receiver on the field is completely out of the equation. For a rookie quarterback, that’s a dicey situation. A dicey situation that, with the current receiving corps, will handicap the offense more than it really should.
Losing a tight end in today’s league isn’t a season changer unless that tight end happens to be Gronk or Travis Kelce. But with the Bears and their barren wasteland of weapons for the offense, losing anything at this point is brutal. The passing game was already nonexistent, but Miller was one of the very few sparks the offense had outside of the run game or Trubisky scrambles.
However, this opens the door wide open for rookie tight end Adam Shaheen to start making a name for himself. At this point, he basically has to make a name for himself. After being the Bears’ second-round selection despite being well below the FBS level, he has found himself the proud owner of one catch (coincidentally his only score) for two yards.
There’s potential with his size and athleticism. A former all-conference basketball player with division two hoops under his belt, every bit of the footwork and hands are translated to the football field. He has the tools to be a solid red zone threat but with both Miller and Dion Sims above him in the depth chart, he really hasn’t seen the chance to flourish yet. Plus his run blocking leaves a whole lot to be desired, something that really doesn’t fit with the Bears current style of play.
But now Miller is gone. Sims hasn’t blown anyone away yet and without a decent receiver on the roster, Shaheen indirectly has a lot of pressure on him now. He doesn’t have to be the man, but if he is, the Bears offense is that much more potent.
And yeah, while there’s little the passing game can do when the playcalling is so run heavy, but there’s a gaping hole in the receiving corps now. Without the Bears making any moves for a receiver and next to no help from the already established receivers, it’s up to Shaheen to come in and make plays for the offense.
This is a golden opportunity for him to start building a reputation for himself. The chance for success is being handed to him on a silver platter. Here’s hoping he can take it and be the playmaker the Bears have longed for all season.