Chicago Sun-Times

Question should be what Bears can get for Olsen

| 19 Comments | No TrackBacks

The debate shouldn't be centered on whether the Bears should or shouldn't trade Greg Olsen. The bigger question now that it appears that bruising tight end Brandon Manumaleuna is coming to Chicago is whether general manager Jerry Angelo can get a player of equal or greater value in return.

General managers never want to be in a position where they are trading a player for the sake of trading him just like they don't want to keep a player for the sake of keeping him.

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz's schemes don't emphasize a pass-catching tight end. His playbook requires a lot of five-and seven-step drops, which is why he wants a tight end like the 6-foot-2, 295-pound Manumaleuna instead of a player like Olsen, who was quarterback Jay Cutler's primary receiver last season. As Martz has said, if a tight end can't block then why have him in the game?

Some have talked about Olsen's ability to create mismatches against linebackers in the passing game. That's all good and fine. But wouldn't Devin Aromashodu, Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett or Devin Hester create bigger mismatches, in which case, what's the advantage of keeping Olsen on the roster?

Imagine how devastating if the Bears kept Olsen only for him to miss a critical block that knocks Cutler out for the season in Week 3.

Even if the Bears sign defensive end Julius Peppers and running back Chester Taylor, who are also visiting Halas Hall today, they have lots of needs in the defensive secondary and along the offensive line. If they can get a player that can contribute as much as Olsen would, a player who fits the scheme and plays a position that will be emphasized instead of one that will be de-emphasized, there's no reason why Angelo shouldn't send Olsen packing.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/30022

19 Comments

Neil,
I don't think you can make the argument that WRs make better mismatches against LBs than Olsen, because if we go 3 WR or 4WR, that prompts the defense to bring in more DBs, and the mismatch goes away. By keeping a TE in the game that can stretch the field from the end of the line, the defense has to respect the run, and you create a mismatch by motioning the TE to the weak side, or into the slot, which causes an adjustment to the coverage, and could put a LB or safety on Olsen.

But I do agree that we need to get value from any trade of a player commensurate with the player we are giving up.

For example, I would expect at least a 1st round pick for a perennial Pro Bowl player like Briggs, but Olsen may only garner a second rounder. I see the point of counting on him to block, but that raises a bigger question for me...

Is Martz so arrogant that he can't tweak his system to take advantage of a talented player? That is not an offensive genius, that's Steve Spurrier, Rich Rodriguez, and every other system-slave college coach that can't coach anything else. If that is the case, we have made a horrible decision, and we should have hired Jeff Jagodzinski as our OC.

That being said, I do think Olsen is about as good as he is going to get. I don't see a lot of open field running in his future. If we can get a second, or if someone in the late first is crazy enough to give up their 1 for him (Cincinnati perhaps?), we would be nuts to not go after that. Jerry should absolutely be answering the phone, and should be looking at his draft board with every one to figure out who might be available in that range.

The problem is that without DePaul, we have no one to evaluate the players that could be offered in return in a player-for-player swap, which is a lot easier in a cap-less year. We will have to take it on faith that we are getting a decent player without that level of evaluation.

i think this might mean the end of Desmond Clark in chicago...i hope not, but it sure looks that way.

Olsen is going nowhere, stop posting these silly rumors.

Completely agree.

Olsen for a late first round pick or early second, which could then be spent on the best available free safety would be a great return.
Manumaleuna, Chester, Peppers, Dunta, plus a first round quality free safety would get the wounded Bears playing dominant football again next year.

The reason you don't get rid of a TE that has Olsen's ability is because of the future. If the Bears don't drastically improve this year Lovie & Co. is GONE! That means Martz is gone. There is no telling who the Bears get to take over to HC job but if you follow what everyone is predicting it'll be Bill Cower. If everyone remembers correctly Cower liked his tight end (Miller). Therefore, the Bears should hang on to him this year even if he isn't utilized correctly. If the Bear's do improve and Lovie gets to keep his job and Martz sticks around then you deal Olsen. Just my opinion. GO BEARS!!!!!

This is another reason to be impatient for the draft to get here. The Bears are not going to trade Olsen. Maybe after the draft we can put this nonsense behind us.

The Bears organization continues to show why they are clueless. Why would they hire an offensive co-ordinator that doesn't know how to utilize a TE. I thought Martz was a genius (like Marinelli who is a joke as a D-Cordinator) and he can't figure out how to use a TE. To the people that want to trade Olsen, you are clueless as well, Olsen is a very good TE who will only get better. Having a TE that can make plays in the passing game is a good thing. Just ask Peyton how he likes Dallas Clark or Matt Ryan about Gonzalez or Rivers about Gates. Olsen is not in their league yet and he may never be but he has the potential and has improved every year in the league so far. Once again Lovie hires a friend that will not fit in well with what the Bears have already. The better question to ask here Neil is why can't the genius Martz find a way to use Olsen?

Good post Neil. Olsen has shown flashes, but has not really stood out in Ron Turner's very TE-friendly sets. With the addition of B.M, TE is the Bears'deepest position. Would someone give up a Second Rd. pick for Olsen, or am I dreaming? Bears desperately need help at Safety + on both lines.
I'm also not as hot as the Bears' Front Office is on the WR unit.

If Chicago doesn't land Julius Peppers, I can see trading Greg Olsen for a late 1st rounder, which would then enable the Bears to land a prospect like Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham. Graham's a player that could come in and play left end for Chicago from day one. If Peppers isn't signed, DE becomes need #1, even if Mark Anderson is brought back. You have to wonder, is Anderson gonna be able to be an every down player? The Bears are gonna have to have another player for the position, a young prospect like Graham would be a nice fit to go along with Anderson.

I'd still like to see Chicago get Peppers and hold onto Greg Olsen. Your gonna trade off Olsen, there by making a strong position group (tight ends), a weak link. Without Olsen, Chicago would be stuck with two players who have been in the league for 10 or more seasons, Desmond Clark 12 seasons and Brandon Manumaleuna 10 seasons. Your only receiving threat from the tight end position would be Clark who is 33 and in the final year of his contract. At least with Olsen you'd have a player that can make things happen from the tight end position. Olsen caught 8 touchdown passes this year, Martz should still be able to find ways to use Olsen down in the red zone where he can out run linebackers and out-size safeties.
Also, I don't care what kind of scheme you run, you can't totally rely on your receivers to make things happen in the passing game, you gotta have tight ends that can catch. I still think Martz can use Olsen, he's never had a tight end like Olsen, yeah he had Vernon Davis in San Fran, but Davis was young and immature at the time, and Martz still got 31 catches out of him the year he was in San Fran. Martz will find a way to use Olsen GO BEARS!!

Tuff call on what Martz will do with Olsen, I would utilize Olsen tremendously as that extra WR, Olsen has great hands and can run good routes, but Martz did not (get) a TE to visit for no dumb reason and we have Davis who can catch good as well.
So time will only tell on this one.
I like Olsen alot but I realize we do have Davis.

Some of the people on this forum haven't been paying attention.

First, ..... Olsen IS NOT a Tight End. -- Tight Ends block. Tight Ends drag tacklers down-field. Tight Ends are MEAN SOBs.

Second, ..... Olsen IS NOT a first-rate Wide Receiver either. He has two "claims to fame". He ran a very fast 40 at the combine. -- Unfortunately, we haven't seen that speed since the combine. He is a tall, big receiver, which is what Cutler likes. Hence, Cutler throws to him more often, and therefore, he has "numbers". It's NOT that he constantly out-jumps the defender, or gets separation, or dives for the ball.

Third, ..... Olsen rarely creates mismatches with the linebackers since the other teams already know that he can't block. They don't give a damn WHAT the Bears CALL him, when the situation calls for it, they put in the D-backs. Thus,... no mismatch!

And NO, ..... After playing football for about 10-years, and having been bigger than most of his opponents, he's NOT going to suddenly "learn how to block" MUCH LARGER PLAYERS! -- With him, it's not "between his ears". -- HE DOESN'T HAVE IT.

And thus, ..... no trades for a high draft pick.

Its easy to say its on Martz to find out how to use Olsen, but I think most teams struggle with how to use a tight end that CANNOT block. The other great catching tight ends primarily can block as well.

Using a tight end, rather than a receiver, only creates mismatches if teams respect the possibility of him being used as a blocker. Otherwise they just treat him as a tall, slow receiver lining up at the line. No one respects Olsen's blocking, and I don't blame them, so he doesn't create anything.

He created such great mismatches last year that he was 19th in the league in yards per catch, last on our team in yards after the catch, and 2nd to last on our team in catches by target %. He caught like 55% of passes. He spent more time asking for Pass Interference flags than he did trying to execute blocks.

Olsen is all "potential" after three years. He has had one dynamite game in his career, and in came in that garbage game against AZ when we were already losing by 3 scores.

a tight end is only a dual threat if he can do both. Olsen can't. Can you use him like a Dallas Clark? Maybe. That's it. He can't do anything else. He is no ______ (Fill it in: Vernon Davis, Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Chris Cooley, etc.)

You would have serious trouble, based on production, blocking ability, toughness, execution, and sure-handedness convincing me he was even better than Finley, either Miller, Shiancoe, Winslow, Celek...

Danimal,
Looks like Robinson is as good as signed by the Falcons. We won't even get a sniff at him.

We can solve the safety problem by signing Atogwe from St. Louis. No one is moving on RFAs yet, so why not hit it early, before the Rams have a chance to see what Rolle and Sharper get in the open market? Make a $5-6M per year offer over 5 years, like 5 year, $36 million ($9 mil guaranteed), and force the Rams to react without the market being set. You know Rolle and Sharper will get similar deals if not better, and we can get a great FS. If they do match, we are no worse than we are today, which is not good, but that also tells us we need to move Olsen or someone else for an early pick to solve the problem.

If they can't block well and be aggressive there is no need for him. Four years is long enough and if they wanted a true TE they should've drafted one and then taken him in later round. Blocking is their fundamental job and all good teams possess one. They don't take up space and max out at camp. Let him go because he won't be any better than he is...let him go because we don't have enough offensive talent to cover his inability.

Actually Joe I can make the argument that WR make better mismatches than Olsen against LB's. First WR are smaller and Quicker and LB's historically have a harder time covering them. WR make quicker cuts and are shiftier, not to mention faster. Olsen is a bigger slower target who doesn't have as quick a first step and will not get in and out of his breaks as fast.

Its not that Olsen has been bad and thats why you would get rid of him. But he really doesn't fit very well in this system, and when you are desperate for help and he is your best bet at getting you a second rounder then you do that. His stock will never be higher with Martz here.

Seattle is after Atogwe.

Has anyone ever heard talk of teams having to scheme to stop Olsen? To always know where he's going to be on the field because he's such a threat? I think not! Trade him for a second-rounder.

For Olsen to create a mismatch he needs to show opposing defences that he can be a force in the running game, until then he'll carry on seeing nickel sets when he's in and it was clear last year that he's no better than a team's third corner. He's shown to have good hands but they turn to stone under pressure or if partially covered, how many drops were there on stick plays on 3rd and less than 5? That's bread & butter stuff but because he cant take on a LB or set the edge against an End in the running game he had nickel corners/safeties allover him and Ron Turner's predictable play-calling. It'll be interesting to see if they keep Davis's size or Clark's all-round ability on the roster but I dont think anyone will give up enough for a one-trick tight end.

Creighton,
Player for player, a WR is a much better matchup against a LB than a TE. But when we take the TE out, the defense takes out at least one LB and brings in an extra CB or S to cover the extra wideouts, so you lose the opportunity to create that mismatch.

Now a separate argument can be made that you should be able to win a matchup with your 3rd or 4th WR against their nickel or dime back, which would make it a mismatch, but that is another matter.

I agree that he is our best chance of getting value on the open market, as teams like Cincinnati, New England, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Baltimore (Heap is always injured), New Orleans (Shockey is not the same any more), and I am sure several others could use a receiving TE, so I say you answer the phone when someone calls, but if no one does for a second rounder or better, then you keep him. Make Martz earn his reputation as a genius, and figure out how to use your best receiving threat in his offense. Face it, he is our best receiving weapon right now. Hester and Knox are 1 trick ponies, and still have a long way to go to be threats all over the field, and Aromashodu is still developing. Granted, that's not saying much, but it is what it is.

If I were the Bears, I would take calls for everyone but Cutler, Chris Williams, and the new free agents. Olsen, the WRs, D. Manning, Briggs, Urlacher, and anybody that a team may want, and see what they offer. Briggs could get us a first rounder in my opinion, as he could play inside in a 3-4, or middle in a 4-3 in addition to weak side. Urlacher might warrant a late first or early second, but after that, we don't have much of value. If we are going to ride out the free agent period without going after Atogwe for free safety, then we need more picks. Ideally, we would get a shot at Earl Thomas, who might slide to the end of the first round, early second. We cannot come out of this offseason without a solution to the following positions:

Free safety
Left Guard
Right Tackle
Center (future)
possibly right guard for the future
Nose tackle

Omiyale might be the answer we pick for either LG or RT, and Beekman might be their answer for C of the future, but I don't know if I like either one, and would be happier with upgrades at either spot. There are no offensive linemen in free agency that would be more than stopgaps, but there are options for FS and DT.

Kemoeatu would be an interesting choice for NT, putting him back with Peppers and giving us some serious bulk to stop the run and force the double teams away from Tommie Harris and Peppers. He is bigger than our normal choice, but every once in a while, but it will help us stop the run without blitzing, which reduces big plays in the play action game. Anthony Adams and Marcus Harrison are ok, but neither is forcing the offensive line to commit to blocking them. Kemo would do that

Atogwe is the alpha and the omega of the free safety position. Their search needs to start and end with him. St. Louis gets nothing if we sign him, and he is a young, talented safety who not only makes plays on the ball, but also knocks the ball out at a good clip, which plays right into Lovie's scheme.

This has been 2 straight years of huge moves in the offseason, to try and get this team competitive. The offensive line is a huge question mark right now, but we are going a long way to making the defense viable. Add in Atogwe, and we are even closer.

Everyone, read Brendan's post, it says it all. Olsen sucks, period. I wouldn't want him on my team no matter what type of offense I played. Heck, I wouldn't want a wide receiver who can't block. And on top of his lousy blocking, he doesn't have good hands and can't run over defenders once he catches the ball. Being fast for your size, by itself, doesn't make you a good tight end, it's just one of many things that do.

Leave a comment

Twitter updates

Categories

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on March 5, 2010 9:14 AM.

Agent: Eagles are backup for Peppers was the previous entry in this blog.

Report: Pats, Eagles also make offers to Peppers is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.