This is such an overblown topic. I feel like I'm just adding fuel to the fire by writing this, but I think there's been enough of a calm, where now is actually a good time to get this out there. Yes, I know some of this has been touched on before, by myself in posts and the threads, by other WCG writers, and of course all over the fanposts, but I really think Greg Olsen should be able to thrive in the Mike Martz offense. OK, now take a deep breath and continue reading...
Before you automatically jump to the conclusion that it's due to the play-calling that past tight ends in the Martz offense have had below average seasons, you need to understand that past tight ends in the Martz offense have been below average receivers. Save for the last TE he worked with, Vernon Davis in San Francisco (and he had his own issues he had to deal with, or should I say that Coach Singletary had to deal with), but none of the other guys had the skills of Olsen.
I find two things very odd in this Martz/Olsen situation. First, Martz is always knocked as being a coach that fails to utilize his tight ends, but when he played Martz was a tight end. You' d think he'd have a good idea on how to get the TE involved in the offense.
And secondly, the very same local radio station that first put the Martz playbook out there for all to see, WSCR 670am, (here it is for those of you that haven't seen it) is the same one that really jumped on the "Martz and Olsen can't coexist" story-line. It's odd because had they actually read the playbook, they would have noticed the TE isn't a glorified extra tackle, but he's in the pattern on most every pass play. He might not be the primary receiver, he might not even be the second option, but he's there. And with the philosophy Martz has of stretching the field, he's a viable option. Take into account the speed burners at WR the Bears have, and you can see how some of the underneath or flat routes the TE will run will be there all day... As long as Jay Cutler has time that is.
The Mike Martz offense is derived from the legendary Sid Gillman vertical passing attack and the Don Coryell San Diego Charger offense (Air Coryell). Martz isn't the only offensive mind using some variation of the offense. The West Coast Offense is sprung from the Don Coryell stuff. In fact, most NFL experts consider Coryell the father of the modern passing game.
Current Charger head coach Norv Turner uses a very similar offensive approach as Martz. They both come from the Gillman/Coryell train of thinking. And I think the TE has been OK working with Norv. Just ask Antonio Gates in S.D. and remember Jay Novacek in Dallas? Both skilled receiving tight ends that thrived in the system.
Going even further back, Kellen Winslow (the dad, not Jr.) is a Hall Of Fame tight end after playing in the Air Coryell system. Oakland's Dave Kasper is another Hall Of Fame TE that did OK playing in this offense. Now before you get your Bears underoos in a bunch, I'm not saying Olsen will be a Hall Of Famer. I'm just pointing out a couple other TE's that had success in the system.
We'll never know if those Mike Martz Greatest Show On Turf teams had players like Tony Gonzalez or Shannon Sharpe at TE instead of Roland Williams and Ernie Conwell, maybe things would have been different. Mike Martz can only work with the talent he has. And in 2010 he'll have a good receiving TE. Unless he's traded that is...