The Chicago Bears Season Lies in the Hands (Literally) of Greg Olsen

Scott OttersenCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2009

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 12:  Greg Olsen #82 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on October 12, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I’m going to say it…


Greg Olsen is, flat out, the Bears' “X-factor” this season.


If he plays at, or above his potential, the Bears could be in for a good ride this season.


If he plays below his potential, the Bears could have offensive troubles like they did last year, even with the upgrade at quarterback.


In camp, so far, Cutler and Olsen have been clicking together, and seem to be heading for a Manning-Clark or Romo-Witten like relationship, which can only be good news for Bears fans.


Coming into the NFL, Olsen was seen as a hybrid TE, like his Miami predecessor Kellen Winslow.  He had speed (for a TE), good hands, good route running ability, and size.  He was going to be the next big thing in Chicago.


Thirty-nine catches later (and a few drops), he was on the verge of becoming a bust.


He followed up his paltry rookie season with a 54-catch, 574 yard disappointing second season, where the drops and rookie-esque mistakes continued.  But, the people of Chicago were still sticking behind him, and blaming it more on the routes he was being asked to run, and the quarterback who the team couldn’t design breakout plays behind.


Going into this season, he has a Pro Bowl quarterback behind the line, no star wide receiver to take catches away from him, and a coaching staff that is ready to turn him into an elite tight end in the NFL.


Through only a couple weeks of practice, it would seem that Olsen is going to be the main target this year, with the rest of the receiving corps a question mark.  He is being lined up wide, which is something I think they should have been doing from day one with him.  He has the ability to be a matchup disaster when lined up wide.

And, when he runs through the middle of the field, linebackers and safeties will have to keep their eye on him, which in turn will leave the outside open for Hester and the rest of the Bears wide receivers.  And, with Cutler having a beautiful deep ball, that extra step the Bears receivers will have on the safeties could mean pay dirt in the end.


I’m not ready to say that Olsen is going to be the best tight end in the NFL, but now that he has a good quarterback, and a (seemingly) better passing offensive system, he could be in line to be mentioned with the Clarks and Wittens of the league.


If Cutler can make Tony Scheffler look like a good tight end, then I have to believe he will work wonders with Greg Olsen.  Coaches and quarterbacks always say that a good running game and a good tight end are their best friends, so Cutler should be the happiest quarterback in the NFL with the situation he has landed himself in.


What are your thoughts on Olsen this upcoming season?