Will Martz use Greg Olsen as a weapon?
Before the Bears made headlines on the first weekend of free agency with some big moves — headlined by Julius Peppers — there was talk about the possibility of trading TE Greg Olsen.
I had a hard time believing it since Martz is the type of coach who will adapt to his personnel to run his offense. The Bears do have depth at the wide receiver position right now, but is any of it proven — to the point that they can command safety help on every snap?
Not really, and that’s why the idea of moving Olsen never seemed to make sense from a football or offensive standpoint in Chicago. The Bears need his production, and it will be entertaining to watch Martz use him in a way Chicago fans haven’t seen before.
Sunday, in a story by Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald, Martz talked about using Olsen, saying, “When you can get a defense with normal personnel, and then move (Olsen) like you would a receiver in the slot and get him matched up on linebackers and safeties, it's going to be a mismatch. Then, with his ability to stand in there and slug it out, he's a complete player at that position, which is multi-dimensional.”
When Martz talks about normal personnel, he’s discussing how defenses will have to attack the Bears when they have their Pro (2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB) or Ace personnel (2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB) on the field. In response, defenses keep their base package on the field. But this is how Martz is different, and why his system should yield production in 2010.
Olsen becomes a WR in these packages in the route tree because Martz will align him away from the formation, matched up most likely on a strong safety with a two-way go and open field to work with. In reality, the Bears become a team that uses 3 WR personnel in their base packages because Olsen has the ability to run routes and create separation when he draws a matchup like this.
Call it creativity or using your productive players in a way to exploit and take advantage of defensive personnel. Aligned in the slot as Martz said, or as an “X” receiver on the backside of the formation, the No. 3 receiver in a bunch look, or as the No.2 in stack sets. The key, however, is that this is all done in offensive personnel groupings that keep defensive sub packages (nickel, dime) off the field.
A luxury, really, as a play caller in this league.
The Bears can utilize Olsen is a way where he’s in position to succeed on the field in both the running game and when Martz gets to move him in the passing game. And that’s why you don’t trade a player like Olsen — he’s too valuable to the success and game plan of the offense in Chicago.
I think we’ll all be surprised to see what Martz can come up with to get Olsen the football.
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