Bears

Hard feelings for Olsen? Maybe a little

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Hard feelings for Olsen? Maybe a little

Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011Posted: 4:00 p.m. Updated: 4:20 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Training camp this year was still some hours away from opening for the Bears when tight end Greg Olsen was traded to the Carolina Panthers for a third-round draft choice.

Olsen wasnt happy in the Mike Martz offense and was even less happy when he approached the Bears before the 2010 season about a contract extension and was told basically that he didnt have a future in Chicago.

He came at me hard last year, GM Jerry Angelo said not long after the deal. I understood it. I told him Id think about it. Eventually I said, I dont see that being in our best interests.

Olsen was Angelos first-round pick in the 2007 draft but wasnt a fit in where the Bears offense was going under Martz. Angelo said he told Olsen that extending him would hurt our football team.

I said, Greg, the intent was not to extend you, Angelo said. He didnt like to hear that, no more than I liked to say it.

Now, thats all in the past.

Or is it?

They wanted to go in a different direction and they made that decision, Olsen told Panthers.com. Some situations are out of your hands. It worked out well that I landed with a team that wanted me and wanted to use me.

Olsen is trying not to put too much extra emotion into a game a team that ultimately rejected him. But

Of course I want to go up there and play well. I would be lying if I said I didnt. We still have our egos.

Sick bay

Just when the Bears thought their No. 1 secondary was forming, safety Chris Harris went back on the did-not-practice list with a hamstring, an injury that kept him out of last Sundays game...A day after running back Marion Barber was able to practice in full for the first time in the month since his preseason calf injury, Kahlil Bell missed practice with back tightness...Tight end Matt Spaeth (calf) again was forced to sit out practice...

Cornerback Chris Gamble (head injury) was the only Panther out of practice or limited.

Let it be

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello emailed CSNChicago.com that the league is not considering any name change to its Walter Payton "Man of the Year" award in the wake of Jeff Pearlman's upcoming biography of the legendary running back, a book with a number of unflattering revelations about his life off the field.

Winning offense

Based on what members of the Bears defense are seeing, the Chicago offense can most assuredly be successful, probably on every snap. Then again, it should be, considering its not facing the Falcons, Saints or Packers.

"They're going against the scout team, said linebacker Lance Briggs, laughing, so when I see them, they're always successful."
Hard feelings II?
Olsen wont be the only ousted former player the Bears will see this year. Defensive tackle Tommie Harris signed with the San Diego Chargers, who visit Chicago Nov. 20. Harris was released by the Bears last offseason after a few seasons of declining performance, failed to stick with the Indianapolis Colts, but is getting one more NFL chance.

Talking Martz, Angelo and Payton

On for the weekly visit with The McNeil and Spiegel Show, albeit without Spiegs whos off for the Jewish holiday, so Jay Zawaski and Ben Finfer were alongside Danny Mac for the day...

The focus is still seriously on Mike Martz and what exactly is going on after two games (New Orleans, Green Bay) that featured dismal performances from top to bottom, from game plan to execution. The question is, after replaying some of Martzs comments from Wednesday, what is the offensive coordinator looking at when he talks in positive terms about his offense, with the line playing well, the receivers playing faster and better, and so on.

No clear answers here. The line gave up zero sacks in the first half of the Saints game and zero in the first half of the Packers game, so the line is clearly doing some things pretty well, particularly with starters on the right side missing.

The only conclusions you come up with is that Martz is traditionally very supportive of his players, certainly in public, so the positive spin shouldnt be a complete surprise. And you get that Martz believes, perhaps to a fault, in his scheme and philosophy and is going to play it his way.

He and Jay Cutler were surprisingly defensive about scaling anything back, even though that appeared to work in 2010 when the Bears turned their season around. Maybe thats again a case of saying one thing publicly to send a message and then doing another when it matters. Thats to be seen.

Mac and the guys raised the issue of some fans hoping for a freefall situation unfolding so that at least GM Jerry Angelo gets fired. Personally, I dont get that, for lots of reasons. Someone hoping their team is abysmal is beyond me in the first place, and second, a bad season is no assurance that anything happens to Angelo anyway. Remember, the McCaskeys are not meddling owners and this is not a dire situation like the late 1990s when something had to be done with Dave Wannstedt.

The Walter Payton book had to come up, and Mac wondered how I felt about it or if I would want to write a book of that type. The second part is easy; not interested. Ive done four books, am working on another, and bringing someone down frankly seems like something that would get me down as well. I dont have any issue whatsoever with Jeff Pearlman writing the book, and Ill be reading it because its part of the job to check out things Bears. This is no commentary on Jeff, just my thoughts about me.

On another level, I dont really like rolling out all of the Walter stuff 12 years after his death. This isnt a protect-Walter thing at all; indeed, as I mentioned to the guys, a colleague once said that we in the media shouldnt write about the wife unless we were going to write about the girlfriend. Meaning: Dont chronicle a glowing picture unless you also were going to depict the other side, if there was one.

Walters status in Chicago and beyond has bordered on sports deification, so maybe this is some sort of cosmic balancing. Not for me to say. My assumption is that Jeff has done a very solid reporting job (I know the people he talked to and he was thorough), but its just not a story Im personally eager to dive into.

Will visit again with the guys next Thursday at 10 a.m.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears Season in Review: Offensive line

Bears Season in Review: Offensive line

The Chicago Bears' offensive line was viewed as one of the team's biggest strengths at the start of the 2019 season. By the time the year came to an end, it was considered one of the club's biggest weaknesses. 

The most concerning issue with the offensive line's regression was that it wasn't isolated to a single player. All five starters played a part in the disappointing performance.

The biggest letdown came at right guard. Kyle Long, even when healthy, was a far cry from the player who at one time was considered one of the most talented offensive linemen in the league. His body failed him again, leading to another injury-shortened year that continued a streak of four straight seasons of nine games or less. Long decided to retire this offseason, leaving the Bears with a big void that GM Ryan Pace has to fill this offseason.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Long was replaced by Rashaad Coward, and while Coward's play wasn't terrible, he isn't the long-term answer the Bears need in the starting lineup. 

Chicago didn't fare much better at offensive tackle, where Bobby Massie and Charles Leno, Jr. each had a season to forget. Massie earned the lowest Pro Football Focus grade of his career (63.2), while Leno, Jr. earned his second-worst (58.6). The offense didn't stand a chance as a result. It's unlikely either player will be replaced in 2020, but more depth (at the very least) is needed.

And let's not forget the drama at center and right guard, where Cody Whitehair and James Daniels were forced to switch positions midseason because of Daniels' struggles at the pivot. Both players fared well once the swap was made. Whitehair finished the year with the Bears' eighth-highest grade on offense from PFF, while Daniels' 70.3 was third-best.

NFL offenses simply don't stand a chance without a functional and consistent offensive line. The 2019 Bears are proof of that. But don't expect sweeping changes (sans right guard) to be made this offseason. Leno, Jr., Massie, Whitehair and Daniels will begin 2020 as starters, and there's a good chance Coward will too. There might be a chance to add a starting-quality player in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, and the Bears should take advantage of that opportunity if it presents itself. But with salary-cap issues and limited draft capital, Chicago may have little choice but to give this unit another season to prove they are, in fact, one of the better starting-fives in the NFC.

Pat McAfee thinks Cam Newton is the move the Bears should be making this offseason

Pat McAfee thinks Cam Newton is the move the Bears should be making this offseason

Recently on the always-light-hearted, analytical-bending Pat McAfee Show, the former Indianapolis Colts player turned radio host weighed in on the Bears’ decision to keep Mitch Trubisky under center for the upcoming season. McAfee believes it’s time the Bears climb back into relevancy by replacing Trubisky with former-MVP Cam Newton:

If I was the Chicago Bears, I would be trying to get Cam Newton. What's the worst that could happen? He stinks? You guys stink anyways. 

With a “what do you have to lose?” mantra, McAfee believes that the Bears should swap out Trubisky for the Panthers' star. Newton is not a free agent, however; it's possible his time with the Panthers could be up,  as it's been heavily-rumored that they'll trade him away this offseason. Newton was sidelined most of the 2019 season with back-to-back injuries, first in his shoulder, then his ankle. If they trade away Newton, the Panthers could allot the money to rebuilding their team around one of the league’s best running backs, Christian McCaffery.