The only reason the Chicago Bears had an even remotely productive passing game last year was because of tight ends Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark’s level of play. They were essentially the only real threats in the passing game. They were at times under utilized but also at times completely taken out of the game.
Olsen is to date one of Jerry Angelo’s most successful first round draft picks. Which is really saying anything given the inconsistent level of player from Olsen. Why do I label Olsen as inconsistent? Because all to often last year teams were able to shut him down with their nickel back. Yes that is to say typically a CB or a safety shut Olsen down and kept him covered well enough that he wasn’t in a position to consistently be a threat within the offense. For the Chicago Bears’ offense to be successful and consistent in 2009 Greg Olsen is going to have to change that. Olsen needs to use his size to out muscle any player that is trying to make a play on the ball.
Mini-camp focus should almost primarily consist of Kevin Payne and Charles Tillman harassing Olsen on everyone of his passing routes in man to man coverage. Given Tillman’s physical play as a corner he would be the perfect guy to help develop his skills. Unfortunately neither Tillman or Payne will be participating in the mini-camp so the staff will have to find more ways to punish Olsen. The most important aspect of Olsen’s game is that he should be nearly unstoppable for a player of his size and athleticism. Olsen ran a 4.5 in the combine workout, he’s 6-foot-5 252-pounds so he should easily be dominating in this league. This will be his chance to show he’s taken his game to a new level in preparation for 2009.
Desmond Clark simply makes plays when called upon. Unfortunately Clark is not called upon all to often so his production is limited. Even though Clark is the past and Olsen the future there is still enough consistency in his game that he could be a weapon to help in the consistency in the passing game. Working both TEs into the rotation and offensive game plan at the same time should be given more consideration by Ron Turner. It adds another dimension to the offense and could give the Bears more consistency on third down.
Rookie Kellen Davis had a pretty remarkable first year. He wans’t expected to even make the team by most accounts. But he fought his way on to the team via his blocking ability and special teams play. What would be nice is Davis developing into a mildly consistent pass catching threat over the next couple of years. Davis is after all a TE that is supposed to catch passes. Though his role will never likely be on the level of Greg Olsen. Running a two TE set of the future with both Davis and Olsen being capable of blocking and catching passes would help in the even the Bears move on from the older Desmond Clark or Clark moves on wanting to seek a chance to start.