Chicago 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.

Why Ben Roethlisberger's perspective on young QBs (like Mitchell Trubisky) is worth keeping in mind

Why Ben Roethlisberger's perspective on young QBs (like Mitchell Trubisky) is worth keeping in mind

If Mitchell Trubisky takes over as the Bears’ starting quarterback this year and has some success, keep Ben Roethlisberger’s perspective in mind: It’ll take a couple of years before he’s solidly established in the NFL. 

Roethlisberger said even after his rookie year — in which he won all 13 regular season games he started — he still was facing defensive looks he hadn’t seen before in Year 2 and 3 as a pro. So saying someone is and will be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL after a productive first season is, for Roethlisberger, too early. 

“I think it takes a couple years,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s why I’m always slow to send too much praise or anoint the next great quarterback after Year 1. I think people in the media and the 'professionals' in some of these big sports networks are so quick to anoint the next great one or say that they’re going to be great; this, that and the other. Let’s wait and see what happens after two to three years; after defenses understand what you’re bringing; you’re not a surprise anymore. 

“I think it takes a few years until you can really get that title of understanding being great or even good, because you see so many looks. In Year 2 and 3, you’re still seeing looks and can act like a rookie.”

The flip side to this would be not panicking if Trubisky struggles when he eventually becomes the Bears’ starting quarterback. For all the success he had during preseason play, most of it came against backup and third string defenses that hadn’t done much gameplanning for him. Defensive coordinators inevitably will scheme to make things more difficult for a rookie quarterback with normal week of planning, and it may take Trubisky a little while to adjust to seeing things he hasn't before. 

“They’re not going to line up in a 4-3 or a 3-4 base defense, they’re going to throw different looks at you, different blitzes to try and confuse you,” Roethlisberger said. “The confusion between the ears part is really one of the biggest keys to it.”

The “it” Roethlisberger referred to there is success as a rookie. The former 11th overall pick was lucky enough to begin his NFL career with a strong ground game headlined by Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis, a balanced receiving corps featuring Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress and Antwaan Randel El and a defense that led the NFL in points allowed (15.7/game). Trubisky, as the Bears’ roster currently stands, won’t be afforded that same level of support. 

Roethlisberger, though, had a chance to meet and work out with Trubisky before the draft (the two quarterbacks share the same agent) and, for what it's worth, came away impressed with 

“I thought he was a tremendous athlete,” Roethlisberger said. “I thought he could throw the ball. I thought when he got out of the pocket and made throws on the run, his improvising. I got to watch some of his college tape. Just really impressed with the athleticism. The ease of throwing the ball; it just looked easy to him when he was on the run, when it wasn’t supposed to be super easy. So I thought that those were the most impressive things that I got to see; obviously not sitting in a meeting room and knowing his smarts or things like that, but just the athleticism.”