CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 16: Tight end Kellen Davis #87 of the Chicago Bears celebrates after scoring on a 39-yard catch in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Coming into the 2010-11 season, the tight end position was supposed to be an afterthought because of Mike Martz's history of how he uses that position. It was so much an afterthought that Greg Olsen was rumored to have asked for a trade in the off-season the minute he heard Martz was the new offensive coordinator for the Bears. While Martz in the past hasn't used TE as receiving options, he always felt that if the TE could consistently block he could be part of the passing game because of the unpredictability. Olsen improved on his blocking and it resulted in Martz using Olsen in many ways on the field. Along with blocking TE, Martz used him as a receiving TE in the slot and at times split wide, but also lined up in the backfield as an H-Back. If there was still doubt that Martz doesn't use TE's in the passing game point your attention to the Divisional championship game against Seattle. Martz went back to the film room to find out what he could take from that week 6 match-up against Seattle. What he found is that Seattle SS and linebackers couldn't match up with Olsen downfield and he designed a passing game plan around his 6-5 255 pound TE.
Coming into this season (assuming there will be one), I am expecting Olsen and Kellen Davis to play a bigger role going into their 2nd year in this offense. We saw Martz open the Playbook for Olsen in the 2nd half of the season, so it's possible that we will see 4th year man Davis get more plays in the passing game.
Who is Kellen Davis?
6-7 262 pounds, Kellen Davis is the biggest receiver on the team. He was a standout at Michigan State where in 2007 he started 12 out 13 games caught 32 balls for 513 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also saw time at defensive end tallying up 6 tackles and 2 sacks in 3 games. The Bears selected Davis with the 158th pick in the 5th round, maybe one of the most criticized picks by Angelo considering OG Carl Nicks went 6 picks after to the Saints. Davis spent his first two seasons as the 3rd TE on the roster behind Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark, but in 2010 he moved up in the depth chart mainly because of his improvement in the blocking department specifically on run plays. He didn't get many opportunities in the passing game because of it being Martz first year with the personnel, but I figure the 2nd year in this offense will see him get more opportunities.
The expectations for Davis is that he should see more opportunities in the passing offense this year now that he's familiar with Martz scheme and Martz is familiar with Kellen's ability and limitations. He will still find himself behind Greg Olsen and to some extent Brandon Manumaleuna, but he will continue to contribute on special teams and in the run department while also getting more opportunities to showcase his receiving skills at the TE position.