How would you assess how Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen performed in offseason workouts?
I think both Desmond and Greg got better. There were things that we targeted. We’re trying to do a little bit more with them—have them on the field at the same time—and I thought they met the challenges mentally that we gave them to try to handle more of the offense and just get better with their technique.
To what extent will you implement more two tight end formations?
Each game and the way we’re defended dictates that, as does the situation that presents itself in each game and the flow of the game. Both Dez in his 9 or 10 years in the league and Greg last year have shown the ability to make plays, and if you have that ability and continue to show that consistently, then you belong on the field. Hopefully they will continue to prove that during training camp and we’ll try to take advantage of mismatches by having them both on the field at the same time.
How much better is Olsen now than he was a year ago heading into his first NFL training camp?
First of all, I think he handled his first year tremendously well, in part because of his background coming from a family where his dad is such a successful high school coach and being as well-coached as he was at Miami. He came as mentally prepared as anbody I’ve ever seen. Physically we’ll see hopefully the biggest jump, just with his understanding of what it takes to be an every-down tight end and the physical aspect of it, especially with us wanting to run the football. I would think that his knowledge of the duration of the season and how to prepare his body and his mind for the length of the season and just him getting stronger in the weight room are all things that should help us.
In terms of talent, what makes Greg such an impressive young player?
As big as he is and as fast as he can run and as athletic as he is, it’s a pretty impressive combination of skills. And then to tie that along with what he has mentally, it ends up being a complete package.
Desmond Clark has been a big component of the Bears offense in recent seasons. Do you expect that to continue?
Desmond has been an integral part of our offense the last three years. Desmond is our starting tight end. He makes plays when he’s called upon. He’s very steady in the run game, which often goes unnoticed. Desmond is a very solid performer for us. You look at his average yards per catch the last couple years and he’s had one of the highest in the league for tight ends, so obviously he’s making plays down the field.
How valuable is Desmond in terms of his leadership skills?
He’s invaluable. It’s amazing just how much he’s grown up in the four years I’ve been around him. He knows how to prepare. He treats everybody the same, whether you’re a first-round draft choice or you’re Marcus Stone, an undrafted tryout guy. Desmond treats everybody the right way and is willing to help everyone. He’s very unselfish and he's been a great example for a lot of guys just to see how unselfish he is. It’s all about the team. Even if he’s on the field 20 less snaps a game, if it’s going to help us win games, that’s what he’s about.
What were your impressions of rookie Kellen Davis in offseason workouts?
Kellen is impressive just because of his stature, but he has gotten better. There’s a way we want to do things and a way we go about things, and he’s learning that. I’m impressed with how he’s handled himself mentally. He’s been a good student in the classroom. It’s going to be exciting on the second day of training camp when we put the pads on to see if he can match physically what he looks like right now.
What does Kellen need to focus on in training camp?
Being tall is impressive, but it hurts him as far as leverage and pad level. When you’re 6-7, it’s a challenge just being able to bend your knees and get under people in the run game. He can’t play as tall as he is. Consistency is the big thing for anybody and especially for a rookie. If you’re consistent, then at least we know what we have and that we can count on you. When you’re an up-and-down roller coaster, it’s tough for a coaching staff to have any faith in you and get you on the field. He’s shown the ability to make some plays in the passing game. But it’s really going to be his physical presence that he’s going to have to prove to us that he possesses.
How much of an adjustment will Kellen face when the pads come on?
It’s a big adjustment for everybody. It will be just because he has to learn the tempo that we practice at. It’s an adjustment. How much of one, we’ll find out. But hopefully it’s no different for him than it is for anybody else coming into the league.