Cole Kmet

Cole Kmet: Bears still need to prove offensive growth

The Bears offense has looked better this summer, but Kmet isn't satisfied yet

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The Bears offense had the at the 50 yard line with about a minute to go and one time to close out Tuesday’s practice at training camp. The situation: find a way to score.

Things started poorly. Cole Kmet appeared to have a big gain to kick things off, but he was flagged for offensive pass interference against Adrian Colbert. Two plays later, Justin Jones was credited with a “sack” on Justin Fields. Matt Eberflus was forced to burn his timeout so the team could regroup for 3rd-and-long.

Last year, a situation like this would’ve been a drive-killer for the Bears. They had a tough time recovering when they got behind the sticks. On this particular situational drill, however, the Bears offense managed to crawl out of the hole they had dug for themselves. Fields found Tyler Scott for a big gain and a first down. The offense ran up to the line, clocked the ball, then got another chunk of yards on 2nd-and-10 when DJ Moore beat Tyrique Stevenson in the middle of the field. Without any timeouts, the Bears needed to run up and clock the ball again, and they managed to do it with just 0.6 seconds remaining. 

Cairo Santos capped the drill by hitting a 50-yard field goal. The Bears reracked the kick to give Santos another 50-yard rep, and he hit it again.

It’s exactly the thing the Bears offense wants to see at this time of the year. Overcoming adversity, using practically every second on the clock to gain just enough yards, and ultimately scoring points.

But Cole Kmet isn’t ready to call Tuesday’s successful one-minute drill a sign of growth from the offense.

“We’ve got to go do it in games,” Kmet said. “This is practice still, and we’re doing these things in practice and it’s awesome to see. I feel like we’re executing really well, but what matters is the games. We can talk about growth when we see it in games and it’s for real.”

That doesn’t mean the progress in practice should be entirely discounted. Last summer the Bears passing attack never really got off the ground, so it wasn’t surprising that they struggled when they started playing on Sundays for real. This year there are still rough periods, but things generally run more smoothly. The players notice a jump from year one in Luke Getsy’s offense to year two.

“You definitely see the details show up where they weren't there last year,” Kmet said.

Saturday will be the first opportunity for the Bears to show they’re making real growth when they take on the Titans for the first preseason game. There will be live hitting. Pass rushers won’t let up just before reaching the quarterback. The game won’t count in the standings, but it will be a game.

“All these practice situations are preparing us for that,” Kmet said. “So it’s good that we’re executing now and doing these things now, but we’ve gotta carry these things over when it’s for real.”

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