Chicago Bears rookie wide receiver Tyler Scott is finding his way.
After starting the season mostly limited to special teams duties, Scott has seen his offensive snaps rise over the last three weeks. He played no more than 23% of the offensive snaps from Weeks 1 through 5. Over the last three weeks, however, Scott has played no less than 56% of the snaps.
“It’s huge as far as just I think the first thing is the trust from everybody around me,” Scott said Thursday. “Being able to be out there and know [coaches are thinking], ‘Okay once you put him in there, we can trust that at least he’s going know what he’s doing.“
Tyler Scott: Having Bears Coaches’ Trust is ‘Huge’
He’s turned the additional opportunity into a modest five receptions for 42 yards. But the production will come so long as he continues to show the faith from coaches isn’t misplaced.
So far, it hasn’t been.
“You don’t want to put somebody out there – plays are going to happen, drops going to happen, things going to happen,” Scott continued. “But you can’t put somebody out there that doesn’t know. So the fact that they’re putting me out there and doing that just shows they’re trusting me a lot more which is good.”
Scott has just eight receptions for 62 yards this season. But he is one of just three Bears receivers to log at least 100 receiving routes run, per Pro Football Focus, trailing only DJ Moore and Darnell Mooney.
— Clocker Sports (@ClockerSports) September 28, 2023
The No. 133 overall pick in the draft, he was the 17th wide receiver off the board in April.
Perhaps fittingly, he ranks 16th in routes run. But he ranks seventh among rookie wideouts, boasting a 97.3% route rate, and is second among those with at least 100 routes run.
“And that’s due to also just opportunities opened up as well with guys leaving,” Scott said. “Got [Equanimeous St. Brown] down as well. So just that opened up my role and almost kind of made me have to … step to another level. Kind of speed kind of my whole process. But I’ve loved it so far. I mean just being able to get those reps, being able to get out there [and] get a feel for the game.
“I feel like each game is short. I’m just getting a little more acclimated to the game speed and just understanding play style, understanding the NFL altogether. So, no, it’s definitely positive for me for sure.”
Tyler Scott Navigating NFL Learning Curve
The NFL presents a learning curve for everyone, let alone a mid-round pick still learning the position. Asked if it was the mental side or the speed of the game that has been toughest, Scott said it’s been “a little bit of both.”
“I catch the ball and this guy outruns me. But it’s more so like his mind is faster than my legs,” Scott said.
“It’s kind of that type of game just understanding how you’re going against guys that’s been doing it for a while, that understand tendencies, that understands concepts, understand just kind of just football, the rules of football I would say. And they get elevated when you go from college to the next level, it just gets elevated for sure.”
Scott is a superb athlete – like a Junior-Olympics-sprinter type of athlete. But he is a rather inexperienced wide receiver, something offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has noted several times.
Ooooo he fast 💨 pic.twitter.com/uCCFGNAPQM
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) July 27, 2023
He was a running back in high school — he even has four carries for 33 yards this season — converting to receiver in college. There, Scott went from 530 yards and five touchdowns on 30 receptions as a sophomore to 54 receptions for 899 yards and nine scores in his junior season, hinting at his exponential development.
“That’s just me also understanding rules of the game,” Scott said of his NFL transition. “Whether it’s alignment, making things match up, how things match up, how DBs think, how they see, understanding tendencies, things of that nature. So I think it’s just a mixture of both: understanding the mental side of it, how to get a step ahead of everyone else, and what I can do in my preparation.”
Tyler Scott Has Strong Rapport With Tyson Bagent
Week 9 will see Scott’s fellow rookie, undrafted free agent quarterback Tyson Bagent, make his third start in place of the injured Justin Fields. Bagent’s previous two starts have been mixed bags, but he certainly has the faith of his teammates.
That includes Scott who has been alongside Bagent since the spring and has certainly had as many reps with him as anyone else on the team entering this last stretch.
“It’s been good coming in together through rookie minicamp through OTAs through training camp,” Scott said of the rapport with Bagent. “I took a lot of reps with him in training camp, especially with the [second string] and things when we had Chase [Claypool] and EQ. So I have a lot of time with him as well.”
Scott began the season with Fields under center; just more adjustments for the rookie
“Understanding the way he throws the ball, understanding his timing. Even when I’m in the huddle, just understanding his voice. Because he has a different voice than Justin,” Scott said. “Hearing the play call, those type of things, understanding his signals, how he signals things. So I think just a mixture of those things. Just learning those things as we continue to progress and also have a feel for him. I think it’s been good.”
Bagent has completed exactly 70% of his passes for 477 yards and has only taken three sacks in his two starts-plus under center. But he has only thrown one touchdown to three interceptions, and has fumbled twice, losing one.
Through all of that, the rookie has seemed unfazed. That, as much as anything, seems to have impressed those around him.
“I’ve been impressed with his command as far as just when he’s in the huddle,” Scott said of Bagent. “Just kind of how he takes over. He gets in and it’s, ‘Hey, guys! Bring it in, bring it in.’ or ‘Hey, let’s tighten up.’ Just those type of things, I love seeing that from him. That confidence not coming in wide-eyed, so to speak.”
And then, of course, there’s the ongoing question over Bagent’s arm strength.
“There’s no doubt in my mind [Bagent can make all the throws]. There’s been times where he’s overthrown me, there’s been times where it’s been underthrown. I think it comes down to just feeling out your receivers. I don’t think it’s necessarily sometimes an arm strength thing.
And if it’s not that, Scott also believes that some of the nuances of playing the quarterback position factor in.
“I don’t know how to play quarterback,” Scott said. “But I know mechanics has a big part to do with that as well. Understanding feet set, you got pressure in your face. Just those type of things can affect your throw.
“But I mean, as far as just throwing the ball deep and being able to stretch the field, definitely.”
There’s more to it than how far the ball sails, particularly the zip with which the pass arrives. As much of a real thing as that may be for Bagent – who asserted that he had a “cannon” ahead of Week 8 – it doesn’t mean he cannot overcome them. And it certainly doesn’t seem to be of any concern to the ones who matter most.