Getting Olsen back could be big for Grossman
Despite the fact that he is still yet to suit up for a regular-season NFL game, having tight end Greg Olsen out of action with a knee sprain the first two games has hurt the Bears offense. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner was shifting Olsen all over the field during training camp and the preseason, from tight end to H-back to receiver to fullback, but that flexibility has been lost to some degree and simply can't be replicated with veteran John Gilmore. Statistically, Rex Grossman tends to be at his best when the tight ends are heavily involved in the game plan, so having Olsen at his disposal Sunday against the Cowboys could prove to be a big shot in the arm offensively.
Grossman appeared to be developing a good rapport with Olsen during training camp, and it can only help getting one of his most dangerous weapons back in the fray as soon as possible.
"He's a playmaker," Grossman said Wednesday at Halas Hall. "He's a mismatch for most safeties going out to cover him, so if there's a situation where we can create that matchup, we're going to go ahead and do that."
While Grossman agrees that Olsen has been better than advertised so far, he's not sure if the rookie's absence helps explain the struggles that this team has endured on offense so far.
"That's hard to tell," he said. "I know that we've missed him just from the fact that we've installed a lot of our offense, and he's been a big part of it. But at the same time, it's no excuse either. So you can look at it both ways. Obviously he would have helped, but these are the same guys we had last year."
QB Rex Grossman (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Romo had a curious path to success in the NFL
Like Grossman, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo entered the NFL is 2003 but didn't start to get significant playing time until last season. While Grossman has endured an up-and-down career as a starter in Chicago and become an easy target for criticism from fans and media like, Romo has flourished after some early success and quickly become a fan favorite in Dallas. There were many people who felt Romo might struggle mentally after botching the hold on that potential game-winning field goal attempt in Seattle this past postseason, but he's gotten off to a strong start with six touchdown passes against just one interception and an impressive 119.3 passer rating in two games.
An undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois, Romo hasn't necessarily followed the careers of highly-touted draft picks like Grossman and doesn't make a habit of comparing himself to other QBs from the Class of 2003.
"I think once you get here (the NFL), you're just trying to make it on your own deal and you go from there," Romo said Wednesday via conference call at Halas Hall. "I'm not one of those guys that tries to beat out other people. I mean he was a great college player, and he's done some pretty good things in the NFL, too. I met him at the Combine, but other than that I really don't know him that much."
When asked why he wasn't heavily recruited out of high school or drafted out of college, Romo had no trouble poking a little bit of fun at himself.
"Probably because I sucked," he joked. "I mean, I really wasn't all that good. [But] when it comes down to it, if you're good enough, they'll find you."
QB Tony Romo (Elliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
The Bears had a long list of players who did not participate in practice Wednesday: DE Alex Brown (ankle), OG Ruben Brown (shoulder), DT Tommie Harris (hamstring), C Olin Kreutz (ankle), and CB Ricky Manning Jr. (back). P Brad Maynard (groin) was able to participate but only on a limited basis. TE Greg Olsen (knee), however, had full participation in practice and appears ready to make his NFL debut Sunday against Dallas.
As for the Cowboys, WR Terry Glenn (knee) is out and will not play, LB Greg Ellis (Achilles) did not participate in practice Wednesday, and CB Terence Newman (foot) was only able to participate on a limited basis.
John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
Halas Hall Report: Wednesday
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