Change in philosophy

Beyond <!--Default NodeId For Marty Booker is 722190,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722190]>Marty Booker</A> the Bears lacked offensive weapons in 2001. During the offseason General Manager <!--Default NodeId For Jerry Angelo is 834647,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:834647]>Jerry Angelo</A> went out and not only added a mobile quarterback, but a downfield threat in tight end <!--Default NodeId For Desmond Clark is 648865,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:648865]>Desmond Clark</A>.

A two-year pursuit of Clark culminated when the Bears signed him to a six-year deal.

"Ever since we knew about this guy he was somebody that we wanted on our football team," said head coach Dick Jauron of Clark.

Clark, a converted wide receiver, has a 51-reception campaign on his resume, which is two more than Bears tight ends caught last year. Despite catching just two balls last year, largely due to injury, the team is confident Clark will help the offense.

"I have an advantage over most of the guys who get out there," Clark said. "Of course, there's going to be some safeties -- not too many linebackers, I think -- but you're going to have some safeties who probably can get out there and cover me. "

"For the most part, I think the mismatch would be on their side. They mismatch against me. I think when I go out and go against somebody, I feel like I can get open"

The Bears haven't had a tight end go over the 30-reception plateau in 20 years. Emery Moorehead was the last to accomplish the feat with 42 catches in 1983.

"In the past we've had some guys that did a very good job blocking. John Davis and Fred Baxter when he was here, Desmond gives a little bit more range than those two guys," said tight end coach Pat Flaherty.

The hope is that Clark will spread out opposing defenses, so receivers don't have to endure big hits going over the middle, particularly Marty Booker.

"I'll be glad to take some of the pressure off of him going over the middle," Clark said with a smile. "But, he's a big receiver and he can do it. He's made a living going across the middle and making those big catches, but he can leave some of that for me now."

Although catches are often the first thing used to evaluate the success of a tight end, blocking is vital to the Bears running attack.

Most would assume that the 6-3, 255 pound Clark would hurt the running game because of blocking inadequacies, but offensive coordinator John Shoop has a different theory.

"In fact, we think we gain something," Shoop said. "The other thing is whenever you got a guy in there like that, it kind of paralyzes a defense a little bit cause you just never know with a guy like Desmond Clark, if he is going to go out or block the guy."

The Bears offense calls for tight ends to occasionally block defensive ends and linebackers in one-on-one situations, something Clark hasn't done before.

"I don't think Desmond will limit us in the running game," Jauron said. "If you're proficient in a lot of different areas (it makes you harder to defend). If he becomes the pass catcher and the threat that we believe that he is, it'll make his run blocking easier. They're going to be worried about other things."

Ultimately, Clark was brought to Chicago to catch the ball.

"We are counting on this guy to come through for us, so there is a burden on his shoulders," Jauron said. "I think he's going to carry it and carry it well."

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