Trey Burton might be best known for throwing a touchdown to Nick Foles in Super Bowl LII, but the former Eagles tight end, who signed with the Bears in the offseason, thinks his new team could resemble his old team in the coming months.
"We were picked to finish last place in the division last year in Philly," Burton told told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday. "There are a ton of similarities. You look at Philly two years ago, the majority of our games were lost by less than a touchdown. If you look at Chicago last year, there's a good amount of those games that they lost. It's just about getting over that hump. You have to be able to win close games. There's so many small details that happen in order for you to lose those games."
The Bears finished 5-11 last season. Of those 11 losses, six were by eight points or less. In 2016, the Eagles finished 7-9; six of those losses were by the same margin. Other similarities: Mitchell Trubisky, a former No. 2 overall pick, is entering his second season. Carson Wentz, also a No. 2 overall pick, was in his second season during the Eagles' Super Bowl run. Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy are both from the Andy Reid coaching tree, and Nagy and the Bears will run the same offense that Pederson does in Philadelphia.
But unlike Philly, where Burton originally made the team as a special teams player and never had more than 37 catches in a season, the Bears have big plans for the tight end.
"The very first thing he said was the value of the 'U' tight end or the 'F' tight end, which is kind of that move tight end that's flexed out a lot," Bears general manager Ryan Pace said during the offseason, via the team's official website. "So immediately my wheels started turning, 'OK, who is that in free agency, who is that potentially in the draft,' and we quickly identified Trey as a target.
"The more we dug into Trey, we just saw a lot of upside. He's very athletic. He's a mismatch on linebackers because of his route quickness, his speed and his football intelligence. Another positive factor is he knows this offense. Philadelphia runs the same offense that Matt runs. So [Burton] comes in right away and knows exactly what we're doing."
Whether the Bears can go from the worst team in their division to the playoffs in one season is another matter; unlike Philly, which had little competition in the NFC East a season ago, Chicago plays in the difficult NFC North. And it will be more difficult in '18; Aaron Rodgers will be fully healthy in Green Bay and the Vikings could be even better with Kirk Cousins replacing Case Keenum. And the Lions, with Matthew Stafford and first-year coach Matt Patricia, are coming off a 9-7 record.
But that's the thing about predictions; two years ago, the Cowboys were fresh off a 13-3 campaign that featured Ezekiel Elliott and an outta-nowhere performance from Dak Prescott. A season ago, that team underachieved, won nine games, and missed the playoffs. Put another way: The Bears are a young team with a franchise quarterback. If Nagy can replicate the success of Reid and Pederson, Burton might be onto something. And if all goes according to plan, Chicago will return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, back when Lovie Smith was the coach and Jay Cutler was the quarterback.