Predicting the Bears opening day roster: Tight ends

Forgive me if this post seems a bit ‘off.’ I was up till 2:00 this morning watching Bears highlight videos on YouTube again. As I was glued to my computer for an hour reliving the best plays from the last four seasons, a handful of things jumped out at me:

Damn, it’d sure be nice to see Devin Hester return a punt/kickoff/missed field goal for a touchdown again.

When he was ON, Rex Grossman was THE man.

I miss Mike Brown leading the secondary.

Desmond Clark has made a boatload of big plays over his Bears’ career.

Despite watching Clark catch/run/block all over the field, I’m worried that his days with the Bears may be numbered. Here’s why…

Lock: Manumaleuna

Limbo: Olsen, Clark, Davis


There was a lot of buzz this week at OTAs and even during last month’s mini-camp about the number of times Cutler and QBs targeted the TEs on passing plays. But did you ever consider that maybe Martz and clan were putting Clark, Olsen, Davis, et al through the gauntlet to evaluate what they had at the position to see which guys could bring which skills to the field?

Face it, the Bears are not going to keep 4 TEs on the opening day roster, so one talented fellow is going to be shown the door. My guess is that guy will be the talented, aging, and pricey Mr. Clark. Here’s why:

  1. The Bears spent crazy cash on former Martz/Ram guy Manumaleuna, and he’ll see the field a lot as an extra protector for Jay Cutler. When he’s in the line-up, it’s not like the Bears are going to put another TE out there with him considering Martz’s penchant for 3- and 4-wide receiver sets. Remember, Martz has a huge man-crush on his Windy City Wideouts.
  2. As much as I thought Angelo would try and get a mid-round pick for Olsen on draft day, it sounds like Martz is at least semi-aroused at the opportunity to see how a (sometimes) gifted, big-bodied receiver like Olsen could be used in his multi-faceted offense.
  3. Kellen Davis is a freak of a man who last year started to turn his potential into play-making ability. Imagine short-yardage and goaline situations with Manumaleuna on one side and Davis on the other…or even both of them loaded up on one side of the line. And don’t forget – Davis is a valuable special teams performer, something none of the others can claim.

While I don’t agree with getting rid of Clark right now – at his age, he’s still the best all-around TE we have – I have a sneaking suspicision that’s the way this will go down. If we trade him before or during training camp, we should land a fourth-round pick in return.

There will be nobody more bummed to see Dez leave than me. Like the Brown Bros. (Alex and Mike), he’s been one of the coolest cats to wear the GSH on his sleeve in recent memory. Unfortunately, the business side of the sport drives most of the on-field decisions around the league, and Halas Hall is no different.

Read my other 2010 position predictions:

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