Sunday was a bit of a showcase game for Adam Shaheen, who until last weekend was mostly a sparingly-used third tight end asked to, primarily, block. But Zach Miller’s season-ending injury and Dion Sims’ absence due to an illness vaulted Shaheen to the top of the Bears’ tight end depth chart, providing a clean slate for the second-round pick to make an impression.
Shaheen started the game strong, with two catches for 39 yards in the first quarter, and he felt like he could’ve rumbled for more than 31 yards on his longest reception: “I’m just mad I missed the stiff arm by about an inch or I might have been able to make it even longer,” he said.
But after those two early targets, Shaheen didn’t have a pass thrown his way the rest of the game. Daniel Brown wound up playing more snaps (38) than Shaheen (31). Still, for a guy who was only targeted twice in eight games prior to Sunday, the Bears thought he took a step in the right direction.
“I thought he played well,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “I thought he started fast in the game. The coverage kind of dictated where the ball went with him. He did a good job in a lot of ways.”
Shaheen was harder on himself, saying “anyone could have just run through there” of his wide-open catch that led to that 31-yard gain. He felt like his run blocking was “in and out” and pointed to getting beat badly by Clay Matthews as one of his bigger mistakes.
But with Miller out of the rest of the year and Sims not practicing again on Wednesday (coach John Fox said Sims is getting better and exercising, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll play this weekend), Shaheen will continue to get more opportunities to grow in the second half of the season. Building off the limited things he did against Green Bay — that were still an overall positive — would be a good start.
“I hope that I can keep contributing,” Shaheen said. “Once Dion gets back, I’m going to do my role. If that is blocking and getting on a few routes too, then great. But it’s not about me. It’s about helping the team out in any way I possibly can.”