Chicago Sun-Times

Jerry Angelo expects a "big jump" from Greg Olsen in 2011

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In January, Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz lamented tight end Greg Olsen's statistics in the passing game "are not what they could, and probably should be."

Last week, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo suggested Olsen will have a "more prominent" role in Martz's offense next season.

"I thought he did a lot of good things, last year. But I think you'll see a lot more things, more consistently, because of the familiarity that our coaches have with him," Angelo said.

Angelo noted how many wondered about Olsen's role in Martz's offense, which previously hadn't highlighted a tight end. While his numbers dropped from 2009, Olsen came up with big plays and stretched opposing defenses.

"We felt good, because of the fact that we know the person, we know how important football is [to him], and he's got talent, and any good coach or system I've been around always finds a way to accentuate to the best players, and I felt we did that," Angelo said. "I expect him to make a big jump as well, next year. No reason to believe he won't."

Both he and Bears coach Lovie Smith said Olsen improved as a blocker in 2010. But Smith said there "only so many balls," with other talented skill players like running back Matt Forte and receivers Johnny Knox and Devin Hester.

But that's not all; Smith also mentioned backup tight end Kellen Davis.

"[Olsen] was just a great team player in his role, and just like I said with other guys, we're going to try to find ways to keep them all involved. I was pleased with what Kellen Davis was able to do," Smith said. "You could make a case for Kellen getting more plays, being more involved also. He's everything you're looking for in a tight end. We just have to keep the progress going. The second year in the system, we know the guys a lot better."

It will be interesting to see what the Bears do with Olsen. He enters the final year of his rookie deal, which is set to pay him a base salary of $900,000, about $500,000 less than Brandon Manumaleuna, a blocking tight end signed last offseason.

Smith, though, shed some light on what a tight end will not do in the Bears offense.

"I guess you look at the numbers and they want the tight end to catch 100 balls," Smith said of the team's offense under Martz. "We have too many options on the offensive sides of the ball for our tight ends to have those kinds of numbers. But you can still be a big part of the offense, which Greg and Kellen are."

Carrying both Davis and Olsen in 2011 isn't an issue. But, the team will likely have to make some hard choices sooner than later. The Bears have invested heavily in quarterback Jay Cutler and Hester, and Olsen and Forte are entering the final year of their respective deals.

Without an extension, if he makes that "big jump" in 2011, than Olsen's price tag will be even higher next offseason. The Bears, of course, could franchise him, if they can't agree to a long-term deal; Marcedes Lewis of the Jacksonville Jaguars signed his franchise tender that was worth $7.3 million earlier this month.

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3 Comments

"I guess you look at the numbers and they want the tight end to catch 100 balls," Smith said of the team's offense under Martz. "We have too many options on the offensive sides of the ball for our tight ends to have those kinds of numbers"

What a load of garbage. First off Olsen isn;t going to do squat next year. The reason why is because its hard for anyone to be downfield trying to catch a ball when the offense needs them to stay in and block because they have the worst line in football. Your talking about an offense that needed 7 and 8 man protection all year. What are they going to send Olsen down field and let Knox or Hester block? Yeah I am sure that will work really well.

The TE in this offense can have a huge role if Martz changes his playbook. Coryell used a TE as a reciever, Martz removed that position from his playbook and replaced it with a 3rd reciever, that's it, that's all he did. The reason being is because Martz calls so many deep passes that you need extra blockers like the TE.

But if you look at the 90's Dallas teams, and the current chargers they both ran a Coryell offense. Martz is just a deep pass happy fool who thinks little of the run game but both Dalls and SD have been able to establish both both and have big passing games. Both Dallas and SD also used big recievers, with good hands he battled for balls and ran clean routs.

2007 in SD
Tomlinson had almost 1550 yards rushing, and 500 yards recieving.
Gates had 75 catches for 950 yards

How is Lovie going to say that their are not enough balls to go around because of all the talent. Your damn offense was in the bottom of the league. The Bears offense is so over talented and so well coached that they sucked??? How the hell does that work?

In 09 Jackson and Gates both went over a 1000 yards, both had over 65 receptions, and Floyd chipped in about 50 catches and close to 800 yards. Not to mention 13 more rushing attempts than the Bears had last year. So how the hell does Lovie justify his remarks? How does SD find a way to include their players but not the Bears. Last I checked in this offense, Martz calls the plays. So just maybe he is your biggest problem.

Not to mention in 10 fewer games as a starter Bennett actually out produced and out performed Hester as a reciever, yet old crafty still thinks "Devin is our number 1." Lovie is always willing to sacrifice production to try and prove he is right about something. The guy never wants to change anything up, that is unless his job is on the line and the owners force him to make changes, like firing his friend BB as the DC and himself later.

I just hope one of the family slaps some reality in to Smith again because everything coming out of Halas Hall right now says the Bears want to go defense in the draft, Hub, Mully, Pompei. Granted that would probably mean the Bears will do what Angelo usually does and try and fix the line in FA, the only problem I have with that is its a huge cap impact, and the last time they decided to fix the line in FA the Bears got 50 year old Orlando Pace, tossed first round draft pick money at Frank Omiyale just so we could watch him suck at every position on the line, and gave 6 million to Kevin Shaffer to sit on the bench. The results of that helped generate one of the most talentless lines in football and multiple injuries later and 60 some sacks the Bears are planning on doing the same thing again.

You also have the fact that Olin and Garza are not getting better and younger.

We need Kirk Barton and Josh Beekman back. Total beasts!

OK the problem is that they have players that are capable of doing more than they did last year.

That's a problem? You guys are thinking in circles again.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on March 28, 2011 9:58 PM.

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