Veteran tight end Jimmy Graham doesn’t seem happy in the Windy City.
Chicago totaled just 1.1 net yards per play in the loss to the Browns, which was the second-fewest amount averaged by any team in a game this century, according to NFL on CBS. The veteran TE shared the ugly stat on Twitter within an hour after the loss:
When he was asked about Graham retweeting that particular stat, Bears coach Matt Nagy shared his reaction to what he called an “emotional” response.
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Nagy on Graham: ‘You Talk & You Figure it Out’
The Bears have scored four touchdowns all season — one of which was on defense — and their 13.3 points a game ranks 31st in the NFL, just ahead of the winless New York Jets. Nagy, who has been calling plays and designing the offensive game plan, has come under more intense scrutiny than ever in recent weeks, and now members of his team — and veteran offensive leaders at that — are starting to get frustrated.
He was asked on September 27 about Graham’s re-tweet, and Nagy said this:
“I would say the biggest thing with that is y’all understand, after a game, we all get very emotional. I think that’s real. What you do is you talk and you figure out, ‘OK, where are we at?’ And you try to get better at all that. I respect these players so much. These guys care. That’s all.”
While the Bears head coach downplayed the issue, it’s clearly a problem when the player who led your team in touchdowns last year re-tweets blisteringly bad statistics about your offense. Graham isn’t some rookie who doesn’t know any better. He has played with the likes of Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, so he knows how efficient offenses are run — and he’s clearly not happy with his current situation.
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Graham Is Having Slow Start to 2021 Season
After playing 59% of the team’s snaps last year, Graham has played just 24% of Chicago’s offensive snaps so far this season. The 34-year-old TE led the Bears in TD catches in 2020 with eight, and he caught 50 passes for 456 yards his first year with the team. Three games into the 2021 season, and it has been a completely different story. Graham has been targeted just three times, and he has one catch for 11 yards.
“The one thing I want to make loud and clear about these players is these guys, they all care. They all really care,” Nagy added. “And so what we’ve got to do is take that care and do it on the field offensively. We’ve got to produce more points and get more first downs. And we’ve got to coach better. … Statistically, when you look at that and you see what went on and what happened, we understand that we’re all very frustrated and angry. But it’s about solutions now and we’ve got to do it and that’s going to be my job as the head coach. I need to do that, and it starts with me.”
It sure does — and the Bears head coach has a great deal of work to do if he doesn’t want to lose the locker room completely.