Cole Kmet A 'Quick Study' In Odd Circumstances

"He's a football junkie," Bears tight ends coach Clancy Barone says.

Chris Emma
June 17, 2020 - 2:34 pm
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(670 The Score) When Clancy Barone was coaching tight ends for the Broncos during the 2011 lockout, he had a rookie at the position in Julius Thomas with whom he was eager to work.

Barone saw the steep learning curve for Thomas as he adjusted to the NFL game without the full complement of on-field work that offseason and in training camp. Once he got acclimated and gained more experience, Thomas was a standout performer and a Pro Bowler in 2013 and 2014.

Bears rookie tight end Cole Kmet now faces similar circumstances. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, he has yet to work at Halas Hall and faces the challenge of settling in with a new team and level of competition from afar.

But Barone isn't concerned.

"He's a quick study," Barone said of Kmet. "The guy, I think, lives and breathes and eats and whatever else football. He's a football junkie, and that certainly is going to bode well and help him with that whole learning curve and help him I guess hit the ground running.

"Cole's a guy that's very focused, determined. Once he has a chance to just do one thing, I think he will excel."

The Bears hired Barone in January to replace Kevin Gilbride Jr., who was fired by the team in late December. The 56-year-old Barone has been a tight ends coach for four different teams and worked with a Pro Bowler at each stop in Alge Crumpler (Falcons), Antonio Gates (Chargers), Thomas (Broncos) and Kyle Rudolph (Vikings).

The Bears selected Kmet in the second round of the NFL Draft in April, believing he can be an impact player in coach Matt Nagy's offense. Kmet will play the Y tight end position for the Bears, which is a multi-faceted role as a pass catcher and blocker.

Barone sees plenty of potential in what Kmet can bring to the Bears.

"He's got great body control," Barone said. "He goes up and he makes hard catches look routine. There are times where maybe the ball wasn't on his body, but he has such great length, he can pivot and make the hard catch look easy. I see him as a blocker as a guy who's certainly willing.

"I see a very high ceiling in Cole Kmet."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.