Looking at this game, it’s hard to determine anyone on the Chicago Bears roster who could stand out against this Rams team. The Rams have a serious depth card in the main positions, while the Chicago Bears have some serious holes. I could easily point out how Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods could dominate this Bears secondary weakling. I could easily point out how Matthew Stafford should also do well in this Sean McVay offense.
While trying to find a weak spot on the Rams roster, the one area the Chicago Bears could have success with is the tight end position. It will be difficult to determine exactly how the tight final position will play out from a snaps percentage, however, Cole Kmet is the legitimate starter now and at the end of the season last year his snap share was over. 50% better than Jimmy Graham.
Rams corners are legitimate with Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams. The Chicago Bears will be struggling to find areas to attack the field with these two playing away. Jalen Ramsey is well known and clearly one of the best corners in the league – otherwise the better. For those of you unfamiliar with Williams, he has seen his importance increase over the past couple of years.
Williams is an undrafted free agent who has worked his way to a starting role for the Rams. He originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2018. After being lifted, the Rams claimed him and he’s been with Los Angeles ever since. He hardly saw any action in 2018 other than a few snaps here and there. His role increased in 2019, however, and he started three games. Last year, Williams played on 81% of the team’s defensive snaps.
Williams was targeted 72 times last year and allowed just 54.2% of those passes to be completed. The quarterbacks only found the end zone once against him and had a score of 61.1. He also came away with four interceptions and 14 pass deflections last year.
Now that you know why Darnell Mooney isn’t listed, sorry to anyone who liked Wikipedia’s changes indicating that Mooney is Jalen Ramsey’s father. Mooney could play well, but I don’t trust him as a breakthrough in this game.
Chicago Bears must use their tight ends successfully to stand any chance of winning
Instead, I’ll go with Cole Kmet (or what I should say is the tight end position as a whole). The Chicago Bears will need to use their tight ends to attack the Rams linebackers. The Rams’ starting linebackers are Kenny Young, Troy Reeder and the ever-familiar Leonard Floyd.
Kenny Young isn’t the best on cover. He allowed 82.1% of passes thrown to finish in 2020. Over the past two seasons, Troy Reeder has allowed 94.1% and 76.9% of his goals to complete. Then they have Leonard Floyd, who barely covers the Rams. He let the seven thrown balls end. He also struggled in this area with the Bears.
Those three linebackers were on the lineup last season for the Rams and Chicago has already seen some success using tight ends in the passing game. Last year, Jimmy Graham caught five passes for 31 yards while Kmet caught two for 45. Even Demetrius Harris entered the action with two passes for 15 yards. That’s nine catches for 91 yards. I expect Kmet to be better too as he shared the snaps with Graham equally in their last meeting against the Rams.
If I’m Matt Nagy, I’ll use his wide, fast receivers to spread the ball across the field with deep routes that will help open up midfield for tight ends. I expect to see a lot of heavy sets (two tight ends) with 12 or 22 staff formations. We’ve seen in training camp and in the preseason how Jesse James can be of help in the passing game this season.
Matt Nagy should use his best three ends tight, but as Cole Kmet should see the lion’s share of the clichés, he’s my prediction to be the real breakthrough. I could easily see him come away with seven catches for 85 yards and one touchdown in this game, especially with Andy Dalton being a slight improvement over Nick Foles.