In case you were wondering why Mike Martz is no longer employed by an NFL team, this could go a long way toward explaining it:
Only two tight ends have produced more from the slot since 2014 pic.twitter.com/tCvVPrrPQf
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 7, 2017
In search of an offensive coordinator with a track record of success in an attempt to get the most out of quarterback Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears hired Mike Martz in 2010. With a strong-armed quarterback and pass-catching tight end in tow, the Bears’ offense should have been destined for great things. Instead, Olsen spent only one more year in Chicago before being dealt to the Carolina Panthers – where his career has clearly flourished.
Olsen was a first-round pick in 2007, but didn’t flash the skills that gave him a first-round grade until after leaving Chicago. Part of this is due to what is generally a slow learning curve for tight ends, especially those who aren’t used to the responsibilities of being a blocker on top of a pass catcher. His ascent into stardom (well, as far as tight ends of the NFL are concerned) is a reminder that patience is valuable when it comes to player development.
Hopefully, this group of Bears decision makers is better than the one that preceded it.
- If the Bears had any plans to use 2017 as a redshirt season for quarterback Mitch Trubisky, they can scrap them. As Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times points out, the bubble wrap is off the No. 2 overall pick now that he’s listed as QB2 on the depth chart. By giving him as many preseason snaps as they did, Trubisky showed the Bears everything they needed to see to elevate him above Mark Sanchez. And while Mike Glennon will get his shot, the Bears have made it so Trubisky will get his sooner, rather than later.
- No matter who is under center, the Bears offense won’t be going anywhere without a healthy and productive offensive line. And that means Kyle Long will need to return to the form that made him a three-time Pro Bowl lineman. GM Ryan Pace has no doubt Long will get to that point, telling Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times Long is “doing really well.” When Long will return to the field is still up in the air (more on this very soon), but Pace sounds confident Long’s return will be a successful one.
- On the other side of the field, safety Quintin Demps revealed one thing that has surprised him about his time with the Bears. In Adam Hoge’s “10 Bears Things” column, Demps comes away more impressed with the front seven than he probably expected to be. “I didn’t know the front seven was that good. I think we have a very talented front seven, which is going to be huge for the back end,” Demps told Hoge. “I didn’t know Eddie Goldman was as good as he is too, man.”
- A healthy front seven will go a long way toward improving the secondary. If the Bears’ edge rushers can pressure the quarterback, opposing offenses will have fewer chances to pick apart a new-look defensive backfield with four new starters. And if the defensive line and inside linebackers can combine to limit the running game, the group will exceed expectations in 2017.
- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t wrong here:
Asked on FS1 if Colin Kaepernick is good enough to play in the NFL, Roger Goodell said, "I'm not a football expert."
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) September 7, 2017
- Just because you’re the most powerful man in the sport doesn’t mean you’re an expert at it. Goodell is a businessman with a degree in economics, but you’d like to think your league’s commissioner would have some idea what’s going on between the lines … or at least have a better answer for why a quarterback who is 4-2 in the playoffs as a starter and has Super Bowl experience isn’t employed.
- We already know what’s going on with the No. 2 pick (and if you don’t here is an update) in the draft, but things aren’t going so well for the only player chosen ahead of Mitch Trubisky. Myles Garrett, who the Cleveland Browns selected with the No. 1 overall pick, will miss 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury. It’s unfortunate news for the rebuilding Browns, who chose Garrett out of Texas A&M because he has the potential to be the kind of game-changing pass rusher Cleveland has desperately been missing out on.
- Hello, fellow kids. The NFL is trying to loosen up and have a good time. Over at the New York Times, Bill Pennington writes how the league is allowing more celebrations in 2017 as an attempt to show how cool and hip it can be. Radical, dude.
- And not to be outdone, Matthew Futterman and Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal explain what the NFL is trying to do to win back fans who might have stepped away in 2016.
- The league was looking to bring on some more full-time officials in August, and recently made its hires official:
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) September 6, 2017