The Chicago Bears have always liked to use tight ends in their offensive scheme, this is no secret to anyone. But last season, however, was different than the rest.
Kellen Davis became the starter after Greg Olsen was traded to the Carolina Panthers and was used in a different way than Olsen ever was in his career with Chicago. So, after last season's change of pace with the tight end position, can fans expect to see more of the same out of Kellen Davis, or will there be another big change coming in Chicago in 2012?
When Greg Olsen was with Chicago, he was predominantly a receiver. In 2009, Olsen achieved 612 yards receiving, while catching eight touchdown passes. He was one of the best receivers on the team that year.
After the offensive line started to go downhill, however, things changed. In 2012, Olsen only got 404 yards receiving and five touchdowns—his worst season stat line since his rookie year.
Why did he do so poorly that season? Simple, the Bears needed help on the line, more than they did receiving. So the Bears tried to make Olsen more of a blocking tight end, but that didn't work out, so they decided to trade him and name Kellen Davis the starter.
After Davis was named the starter, things looked better for the offense in Chicago. Last season, Davis only got 206 yards and five touchdowns but was a tremendous help on the offensive line.
Davis was one of the main reasons that quarterback Jay Cutler had 2,319 yards and 13 touchdowns in Week 10 when he suffered a season-ending injury. The transition from the Bears to make the tight end position into a blocking one instead of a running one seemed to work for the most part, however this season, the Bears are looking to move in a different position.
Sure, he's going to be a blocking tight end first; he always will be. But this season, players and fans will get the opportunity to see Davis in a different light than they have before.
In an interview this week with Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com, tight ends coach Mike DeBord said that Davis "Certainly proved himself as a blocking tight end this past season," but also that he will now be "More highlighted in the pass offense, so he'll be able to show off all of his abilities." This should make for an interesting season.
Davis, no doubt, did his job last season and did it well. He blocked exceptionally well and helped out the offensive line so that Cutler and Forte could do their jobs better. Now, he's shifting his talents in another direction, so that he can help in other ways on the offensive side of the ball. But the real question is, will it work?
The Bears got rid of their receiving tight end because they wanted a blocking one and are now shifting their current tight end back to receiving. If this move pays off, DeBord may look like a genius. If not, it could cost him, and others on the team, their jobs.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Davis is utilized this season, whether it works out for the bets or not.