It was interesting seeing all of the controversy that surrounded the Bears TE position this past season, considering it was one of the positions with the most talent and depth on the roster. It all started when Mike Martz was announced as the new Offensive Coordinator, and people began wondering what would happen with Greg Olsen; Martz is not known to heavily use TEs in his system, and rumors began swirling immediately that Olsen could end up on the trading block.
Next, we see the addition of Brandon Manumaleuna, touted as one of the best blocking TEs in the league, who had worked for Martz before. The idea was that Manumaleuna would help improve an underachieving Bears OL, and he signed a contract that commanded high expectations.
Also on the roster, Desmond Clark, who was widely considered the most versatile TE the Bears had under contract. Clark could block, had good hands, was tough to tackle, and brought a veteran presence to the locker room.
And finally, Kellen Davis, a big-bodied TE with great athleticism, who had been showing steady improvement since joining the team in 2008.
On the surface, the TE position looked potentially like it could be one of the best in the league... and then the season started. Nowhere to be found was Clark, who was inactive most of the year. Manumaleuna couldn't seem to live up to his expectations as a blocking TE, and Olsen's receiving numbers saw a drop off from 2009.
The 2010 season ended with more questions than answers regarding the Bears TE situation, and GM Jerry Angelo and HC Lovie Smith recently spoke on the expectations for the future.
Angelo on Olsen:
"I thought he did a lot of good things, last year. But I think you'll see a lot more things, more consistently, because of the familiarity that our coaches have with him"
"I expect him to make a big jump as well, next year. No reason to believe he won't."
Smith on Davis:
"I was pleased with what Kellen Davis was able to do," Smith said. "You could make a case for Kellen getting more plays, being more involved also. He's everything you're looking for in a tight end. We just have to keep the progress going."
With Olsen and Davis seemingly locks for 2011, where do you think that leaves Clark and Manumaleuna?