Chicago Sun-Times

Bears showing interest in veteran TE Michael Gaines

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The Bears did not get a tight end in the draft but that does not mean they are not looking around for one.

According to Dave Hutchinson of the Newark Star-Ledger, the Bears are showing interest in veteran Michael Gaines. He could be making a visit to Halas Hall soon.

Gaines, a sixth-year pro from Central Florida, was released last week by the Detroit Lions after they spent a first-round draft pick on Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew. Detroit also selected Maryland's Dan Gronkowski.

The 6-4, 277-pounder could push Kellen Davis, a fifth-round pick a year ago, if the Bears are seeking a tight end who is primarily a blocker. Although Gaines caught 23 passes last season for 260 yards, including one touchdown, he's primarily considered an asset in the running game. He had a season-high six catches in the Lions' loss at Soldier Field last season but lost a fumble.

Gaines visited the New York Jets on Wednesday and they are seeking a complement to Dustin Keller.

The Bears rarely used Davis last season. He was active for 16 games but was on the field for just 40 snaps over the course of the season. That is a sharp reduction from how the team used third tight end John Gilmore in 2007. That season Gilmore was on the field for 149 plays.

Typically, the Bears carry five tight ends to training camp. Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen are the primary tight ends. They also have Fontel Mines on the roster. He has spent most of the last two seasons on the practice squad. The team brought two tight ends in for the rookie minicamp this past weekend but did not sign one.

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If Davis doesn't learn to block, they should make the switch to Gaines. The Bears are badly in need of another blocking tight end since Olsen can't block.

if the bears can't teach a 6'7 tightend how to block, then i'm sure another team will. we don't need more tightends we need to develop the ones we have.

First off, Brad, very good stuff on the last two blogs, this is definitely the best site for Bear info, especially during the off-season, keep up the good work Brad.

OK, now for my two cents. If second year tight end Kellen Davis is still having a hard time blocking, then Chicago has to go after a player like Michael Gaines. The ability to block is a very underrated attribute, especially for a tight end. Gaines seems intriguing with his size and ability to catch, he could be a good asset to have, especially on the goal line or during third and short situations. Also, a big tight end that can block and has a good set of hands can be of great use in the red zone. A double skill set tight end would make your red zone offense less predictable. I say ink him and make Davis earn his spot on the roster, no more draft status keeping certain players safe. Make the team better by any means possible, if theres a free agent out there that could be an upgrade, sign him.

As for Greg Olsen, he might not be the best blocker, but he does have a great set of hands. In only his second season he had 50 plus catches. Now with Jay Cutler, Olsen is an easy 70-80 catch tight end. I look for Olsen to make the pro-bowl this season GO BEARS!!

If I remember correctly, Gaines was not much of a blocking option when he came into the league, and has put on around 30 lbs since his rookie campaign. He has made himself into a solid blocking TE, which is what Olsen and Davis can do as well. Olsen is focusing on catching the ball, and being more of a receiving option, but he needs to be able to block in line, which will offer us more flexibility in the offense.

Most tight ends have to learn to properly block when they get to the NFL. Our best blocking TE, Dez Clark, was a linebacker in college, and converted to tight end late in the game before carving out a solid career in the NFL. Linebackers don't spend a lot of time blocking either....

If we do sign him, we should be looking at him as a future replacement for Dez, so Olsen can be on the field more. Kellen Davis, with his size and receiving ability in the red zone, would be employed very quickly by another team. We need to work him into the game, and it should be at the expense of Dez in my opinion. Olsen creates too many mismatches on the field, and until our receivers prove otherwise, he is our best weapon on offense. Davis could be a similar mismatch, as few defenders can cover a 6'7 TE.

i agree with carlos on the davis blocking issue. if he's either unable to block or is not coachable, then they need to look elsewhere. a lot of blocking is "want to" and if davis doesn't want to block, then the bears have a problem.

joe f, you need a fact checker. desmond clark was a wide receiver at wake forest not a linebacker. from his wiki:

Clark attended Wake Forest University, where he was a wide receiver and caught at least one pass against every ACC opponent he faced. He was a two-time second team All-ACC selection, a two-time team MVP, and finished his career with 216 receptions for 2834 yards (13.12 yards per rec. avg.) and twenty touchdowns.

""I say ink him and make Davis earn his spot on the roster, no more draft status keeping certain players safe. Make the team better by any means possible, if theres a free agent out there that could be an upgrade, sign him.""

Kellen Davis needs to get on the field. If Gaines is signed then it should spell the end of Desmond Clark here in Chicago. Olson and Davis are receiving threats. Davis has the ability to make the spectacular catch but hasn't been given the chance because he lacks blocking skill. It would be a waste to dump him and keep an aging, now-32 year old Clark who's contract is up in 2010. You can let Gaines do the dirty work and let Olson and Davis make all the catches.

Another option is to keep (4) TE's and (0) FB's.... That's right, dump McKie and Jason Davis and just go with the TE's. Turner basicaly phased out the FB anyway. McKie and Jason Davis combined for (60) touches last year. You can have the TE's as "H" backs on running downs or perhaps this would be an ideal opportunity to see more of Forte and Kevin Jones in the backfield together.

Dumping Kellen Davis because he hasn't polished his blocking skills yet would be a HUGE mistake.

Go Bears !!


Good call on Dez being a WR. I think I had Dustin Lyman in my brain when I was thinking of Clark. Both from Wake, converted to TE...wires got crossed on that one. But the principle still holds that he wasn't asked to block much in college.

What's with you guys who want to dump Desmond Clark? He's the best all round tight end the Bears have.

And those of you who focus on pass catching, sorry: blocking is more fundamental to the tight end position than catching passes. Tight ends who can't block, like Olsen, are either situation players or are just large wide receivers, however you want to look at it.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 6, 2009 8:46 PM.

Analyzing the playing time at tight end and fullback; Clark, Olsen even was the previous entry in this blog.

Draft driven Bears actually built the roster every which way is the next entry in this blog.

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