Bears TE Olsen finds positives despite drop in numbers

Posted Jan. 16, 2011 @ 3:09 a.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

Those looking for confirmation that TE Greg Olsen is not a great fit in offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system have evidence to point to in Olsen's individual numbers from the regular season.

Olsen finished with only two catches and 13 yards more than his career lows in those categories, and he made one catch or fewer in seven games.

If his dip in production has left him frustrated, Olsen didn't show it at a press conference this week. He said that playing for Martz has been a positive experience for him.

"It's definitely different as far as in the past, but I really think, and I wholeheartedly believe this, that it's been a good thing," Olsen said. "It's opened my eyes that you can have an impact on the game other than catching touchdowns.

"In the past it was always, 'What can our tight ends do in the passing game?' We did stuff in the run game, don't get me wrong, but this year we have a lot more responsibility in blitz protection on third downs. ... You can have a big impact on the game without the ball.

"The (TE) position has made some plays and been a factor in the passing game, but I feel like the position has helped in other ways that sometimes can go unnoticed. I think overall, personally and as a position, I think (the tight ends have) all grown a lot this past year as all-around players."

Olsen was involved in trade rumors during the offseason after Martz, who had used tight ends primarily as blockers in the past, was hired. It was presumed that Martz wouldn't have much use for Olsen, since blocking was not his strength.

After watching him in Martz's offense for a full season, it's been suggested that trading Olsen, who has one year left on his contract, to a team with an offensive system that would allow him to play to his strengths as a receiver would be the best thing for him.

QB Jay Cutler doesn't want to see him go, though.

"Greg's so valuable to this offense right now," Cutler said. "He does so many different things. ... I think even though Greg's numbers might be down, he's probably had more fun in this offense than he has in years, of just the challenge of preparing each week and the different things that we're asking him to do."