Kyle Long got a taste of the good life last Sunday, soaking in the atmosphere of the Philadelphia Eagles’ NFC Championship-clinching win against the Minnesota Vikings.
Long was on the sideline watching his brother Chris (a stud defensive lineman for the Eagles) and his teammates thrash the Vikings for 60 minutes and celebrate into the night. Naturally, Long hopes to be his brother Chris’ shoes one day and see that it happen for the Bears.
And who knows, perhaps Chicago has the ball rolling in the right direction with its new coach. Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune has an anecdote from last weekend’s NFC title game, where Long connected with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. The meeting led to a conversation about new Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy, with whom Kelce is all-too-familiar with from his time playing in Kansas City.
Kelce’s thoughts on the Bears’ new coach are exactly what you’d expect from a player who excelled in Nagy’s offense.
“He really enjoyed him,” Long told Wiederer. “His face kind of lit up when I asked about him. It took me reminding him to realize that (Nagy) was with me now. He was really excited for me and for Mitch (Trubisky) specifically. He said he’s going to be really good for him.”
Long should be excited about playing in Nagy’s offense, too. Football Outsiders ranked the Chiefs’ offensive line as the 12th best run-blocking group, where Long has excelled when healthy. To that end, Long recently said he is feeling great … but also revealed he has some procedures coming up that he described as “minor standard-operating-procedure offseason stuff” in a radio interview on ESPN 1000-AM.
Trubisky has garnered some favorable comparisons to Alex Smith since Nagy’s hire, which stems from the Bears’ rookie’s efficiency on medium routes. Smith has played his best ball since teaming with Nagy and Andy Reid in Kansas City. After posting a 79.1 career rating in 80 games over seven years with the San Francisco 49ers, Smith’s rating has jumped to 94.8 in 76 games in five seasons with the Chiefs. That includes a league-leading 104.7 rating in 2017.
Smith averaged 292 passing yards and two touchdowns in the four games he started when Nagy was calling plays. Kelce, one of his top targets racked up 21 catches, 261 yards, and three touchdowns in that four-week stretch. Extrapolate Smith’s numbers on a per-16-game basis and they come out to 4,676 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, and four interceptions. Do the same for Kelce and you’re looking at a tight end who hauled in 84 catches, 1,044 yards, and 12 touchdowns.
Where can I sign up for that kind of production from Bears players in 2018?