Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
Make sure you read this excellent analysis of why Chicago tight end Greg Olsen hasn’t had the kind of breakout season many expected from him. It encapsulates much of our Olsen-related discussion over the past months, from the summer hype he received to the advanced defensive schemes he’s faced, and also addresses a mistake the Bears made last week during their 45-10 loss at Cincinnati.
According to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears unknowingly omitted Olsen from many plays as they shifted gears into catch-up mode. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner said the issue “has been addressed” and that it won’t happen again.
This will be an interesting dynamic. As we’ve discussed before, the Bears’ receivers have been a pleasant surprise this season. But to this point, none of them require special treatment from defenses. That leaves opponents to focus more on Olsen than they normally would against tight ends.
It’s up to the Bears’ coaching staff to find a way to break through those schemes.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders if some veteran Bears players -- Olsen and safety Kevin Payne among them -- have been put in positions where it is impossible for them to succeed.
Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago checks in on Nathan Vasher, who has taken some reps at free safety in the past few weeks.
Creating turnovers will be key for Green Bay’s defense Sunday against Minnesota, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
It might be just for public consumption, but the Packers insist they’re willing to let tight end Jermichael Finley (knee) play Sunday even if he doesn’t practice all week, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Finley will have a pre-game workout test Sunday morning.
Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee breaks down the possible structure for the Packers’ offensive line.
Minnesota does not seem concerned about the illness that sidelined receiver Percy Harvin on Thursday, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
Vikings middle linebacker E.J. Henderson knows his level of play has dropped of a bit this season, writes Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News downplays criticism that Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is injury-prone.
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press believes St. Louis has more talent than the Lions and will win Sunday.