The Bears would like to keep three tight ends this year. They would just like No. 3 to play like he belongs there.
Martellus Bennett is ensconced as No. 1. Steve Maneri, an accomplished blocker, was signed last offseason as the No. 2. It gets interesting after that.
The Bears opened with three tight ends at Oakland: Bennett, Maneri and…Fendi Onobun.
It is difficult to recall a player for whom a coach has held the door open as encouragingly as Marc Trestman has for Onobun, who dropped a TD pass in Carolina and another in Oakland in addition to another muff and a holding penalty.
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Such misadventures typically get players cut, and Onobun has the lowest rating of any Bears offensive player through preseason, per ProFootballFocus.com. But not Onobun, whose work in minicamps and training camp has been exemplary, but...
“You know,” Trestman said, “Fendi Onobun has had a very good camp and has been uncharacteristically inconsistent in the games. I think that is a fair assessment. We have seen in the games… you’ve seen things in practice that we haven’t seen in the games. Does that mean we’ve lost confidence? No. We’ve got to continue to have him work through it.”
The unspoken question here is whether Onobun is for Trestman what Kellen Davis was for Lovie Smith and his offensive coordinators – all the physical assets but when games and the ball arrived...
The difference is that Onobun is a luxury, where Davis was handed the job with the No. 1 offense.
The ones who are not handing anything are Kyle Adams, an unlikely success story as an undrafted free agent out of Purdue, and Tony Fiammetta, a fullback bringing more power at the point of attack than Onobun.
Adams has had only 16 snaps this preseason to Onobun’s 52. Fiammetta has had 24. The Bears clearly want Onobun to win a roster spot and unless he wins it with something positive in the Cleveland game, Trestman and his staff risk raising questions on how players earn jobs.
“This is really his first year of football and he’s shown the ability to do it,” Trestman said. “He’s just got to work through this phase when he gets under the lights that he can continue to play as consistently and I think he can do that down the road.”