From Week 4 to Week 7 last season, it seemed as if Mike Martz's offense would never succeed in Chicago. The Bears lost three of the four contests - the lone win against the lowly Carolina Panthers - averaging just 247 total yards per game over that span.
During the bye week, coach Lovie Smith sat Martz down and insisted the team get back to its run-first ways. Under that philosophy, the team went on to win five straight games, and seven of nine to finish the season.
Unfortunately, many of the unit's bad habits resurfaced in the NFC Championship game, costing the team a trip to the Super Bowl.
On the season, Chicago's offense finished 30th in total yards, and 21st in points per game. In 2011, the second year with Martz at the helm, the unit is expected to take the next step.
“I think you can’t help but grow,” tight end Greg Olsen said on the "Mully and Hanley Show" AM 670 The Score. “You know, with just naturally having the second year now under our belt, you know, with all the experience we learned from last year, and the game reps and the game situations that we were able to learn from, you can’t help but, hopefully, you know, execute it better.”
Olsen's production fell from 60 catches for 612 yards in 2009 - Ron Turner's last year as coordinator - to 41 receptions for 404 yards under Martz. Surely the game plan will focus more on the big, speedy tight end in 2011. Olsen believes the added comfort in Martz's offense leaves it up to the players to create the desired results.
“If we don’t, that falls on us players,” Olsen said. “And that’s a shame because the amount of practice, and the amount of times we’ve gone through it and heard it, there’s no reason for us not to play better than we did last year. And, you know, that’s on us as players.
“We’re going to do our best to go out there and play better than last year and carry more of the load for the team, offensively, than we did last year. And I think Coach Martz’s offense is as good as it gets as long as we execute it.”
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