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updated: 1/19/2011 10:42 PM

Tight ends factor again? Not even Bears know

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No NFL player wants to be left out.

But it feels so totally out of nowhere when a Greg Olsen or a Kellen Davis suddenly shows up in the offense after being invisible for weeks or months.

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And it plays into the generalization that tight ends in the Mike Martz offense are more fullback than receiver, something Martz basically admitted Wednesday.

Davis, however, says it's not that simple.

"The way the Martz offense works is, whatever you do as a defense, we have an answer for it," Davis said. "Mike waits to see what the defense is doing and how we can exploit their weaknesses, and then he looks for ways to do it. If that involves the tight ends, so be it.

"That's why sometimes you don't see this player or that, and then they get the ball. It's because that's what the (defense) is giving us."

So even though Davis had just 1 catch in 16 games -- a 19-yard TD against Minnesota two months ago -- he wasn't surprised to suddenly catch 2 passes for 42 yards and a TD against Seattle.

But Martz says it's because Davis now understands the offense.

"He wasn't quite sure what we were doing," Martz said. "But where he's been the last three weeks or so has been very encouraging and allows us to include him more."

As for Olsen, there were seven games this year in which he had no catches or only 1, hardly appropriate numbers for a starting NFL tight end and furthering the notion that Olsen served no purpose here with Martz in charge.

And then Olsen was targeted eight times in the first half Sunday, catching three for 113 yards and a TD.

"It just shows you that players -- whatever you're labeled or your position -- if you can make big plays and make things happen for our offense, you're going to get the ball," Olsen said. "Different weeks it's different guys, and that's what we've said all along."

That also makes an assumption that the team Martz is coaching has the personnel to allow Jay Cutler the time necessary to make the throws.

That hasn't been the case for a healthy portion of this season, but it was when Olsen got deep for a 58-yard TD on a third-and-2 against Seattle.

"They know that we normally look to pass the ball, but we ran the ball on the first two downs," Olsen said. "Then, we were able to get down the field and Jay was able to hold it so it gave us that chance.

"I don't think there was any more emphasis on the tight ends (Sunday). Some games the ball goes to some guys and some games it's different positions, but the more players you involve, the harder it becomes to stop the offense."

It's still based on Cutler having the time to throw, something that will be foremost in the Packers' minds Sunday.

The formula

It sounds so simple.

Get an early lead, keep the defense off the field, and keep the opposing offense quiet on first down.

"It's huge for us because you stop the other team's running game if they have to play from behind and they're in second-and-long and third-and-long," said Brian Urlacher. "We're a downhill defense, so if we can get in the backfield and they're in bad situations to run the ball, it plays into our strengths."

Tackling 101

While we're sorry for the injury to Seattle corner Marcus Trufant on Sunday, his poor tackle of Kellen Davis was the cause of the concussion.

"He went low and his head hit my knee," Davis said. "Luckily, I didn't get hurt, too."

More and more you see NFL players leading with the head, and the result is usually not a good one. Maybe coaches need to start teaching players again how to lead with the shoulder and wrap up with their arms.

That's pretty basic stuff, isn't it?

Best quote

Matt Forte on the supposed hatred between the Bears and Packers: "I think that's more for the fans. I don't really hate anybody. I just focus on whoever we're playing at the time and focus more about our team and going out there and just playing good football."

Flag football

E-mailer Bill Lidman: "Why do the officials let the Packers' corners clutch and grab so much? Yes, they are talented, but that stuff makes them look even better. Someone needs to bring it to the attention of the league."

And finally …

This chuckle courtesy of many faithful readers:

A Bears fan, a Packers fan and a Seahawks fan are climbing a mountain, arguing about who loves his team more.

The Seattle fan insists he's the most loyal. "This is for the Seahawks!" he yells, and jumps off the side of the mountain.

Not to be outdone, the Bears fan is next to profess his love for his team. He yells, "This is for the Bears!" and pushes the Packers fan off the mountain.

brozner@dailyherald.com

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