The Bears can’t be held seriously as on offense until everyone who eats begins receiving YAC. If there is one statistic Mitchell Trubisky and this season must be improved by the Bears offensive, it is yards after catch.
While they went from 30th to 21st last year and the passer rating of Trubisky produced a league-best leap from 77.5 to 95.4, the team yards after catch began to lag behind.
It indicates the amount of catches produced by large recipients with guards draped all over their backs.
It’s why all the talk about stronger timing in the passing assault is helpful. Better timing implies that runners get the ball faster and have more space to operate.
“We’re well ahead as far as timing, operation, getting to the scrimmage line, getting in and out, adjusting to all our games and just knowing where to go with the football, particularly against all those distinct looks that we’re seeing the team throwing at us,” Trubisky said during the mini-camp.
Allen Robinson is seeing the same thing that doesn’t harm given that he was one of last year’s disappointments in terms of yards after the catch.
“I believe we see the coverages we want as quickly as we line up,” Robinson said. “We’re getting into the things we want. We understand the places we need to be in. The timing, everything, things like that was nice for us.”
After the catch with 1,660 yards, the Bears completed 25th as a group in yards last year. That was a tremendous rise compared to the 1,350 they had in Trubisky’s first year with Dowell Loggains as offensive coordinator, John Fox as head coach, and about any receiver they could pick up from the road running down paths.
The objective is to be among YAC’s elite crimes. The Steelers resulted at 2,883 yards last year. At 2,649, the Chiefs were second. New England was third and sixth in the Packers. The Rams and Eagles were in the top 10.
Tarik Cohen resulted the Bears in the YAC with 520 for the second consecutive year. Most of YAC’s top 20 teams are running backs, but Cohen’s rise was significant in the fresh offense. He moved from 303 to 520 in 2017.
However, after last year’s capture, Cohen was the only Bear in the top 38 in the league in yards:
- Taylor Gabriel 226, 39th in NFL
- Allen Robinson II 216, 46th in NFL
- Trey Burton 190, 66th in NFL
- Anthony Miller 170, 82nd in NFL
Mike Davis’s addition can’t harm. He’s not a one-dimensional runner, as 235 yards after last year’s catch on just 34 receptions suggests. Cohen had 70 receptions for his 520 yards.
Cordarrelle Patterson would seem normal to bring up that total, given how the Bears thought about using it as a running star, slot receiver and wideout. However, after last year’s encounter with the Patriots, who were one of the finest YAC clubs, Patterson had only 162 yards.
Burton’s 190 yards are especially sad given that after the hit there were 13 other narrow ends in the league. George Kittel, Vance McDonald, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, Jared Cook, David Njoku, Jimmy Graham, Eric Ebron, Kyle Rudolph, Austin Hooper, O.J. Howard, C.J. Ozomah.
Burton had a contract for last year’s fourth-highest sum among the narrow ends of the league, averaging $8 million. To be taken seriously as a danger, the yards must rise across the board after capture until the Bears are well into the 2000s.
“I mean, just in the context of statistics and what we’ve done, just believe of basically sort of a rookie moving into a rookie offensive,” Gabriel said. “We have a second year under our belt, the terminology is extended. It’s more comprehensive. We understand what Mitch intends. Mitch kind of can feel our velocity, the pace of what we’re doing.”