TE Greg Olsen really new kid on block

Bears tight end Greg Olsen, who is tied for fourth in the NFL with five receiving touchdowns, has been the central character on some highlight-reel catches.

But Olsen also has been a secondary part of some explosive runs and catches by running back Matt Forte.

''I'm still a work in progress, and there's still plays I'd like to have back,'' said Olsen, who is fifth on the team in catches (29) and receiving yardage (331). ''But, for the most part, I feel [my blocking has] been a step up from where it's been. And each year I'll just continue to get better at that phase, and I'll catch it up to the passing game.

''By no means am I the best blocker in the league, but it's something I do take pride in. I'm not just a guy who is out there running around and catching the ball."

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz said Olsen continues to work on keeping his pad level down.

''He was what we would call an overanxious blocker,'' Martz said. ''He would go flying in there out of control. But he's certainly willing, and he'd stick his face in there.''

Tight ends coach Mike DeBord said he was aware of Olsen's reputation for not being a great blocker.

''I had heard it, yes,'' DeBord said. ''But I just thought he was inconsistent with his blocking. There were times he had good blocks and other times he didn't. The main thing is to be consistent, and that's what he's been working on. And he's done a nice job of that this season.''

DeBord said the proof Olsen has improved is that the offense calls on him to line him up in the backfield or splits him outside.

''We've got him blocking everywhere,'' DeBord said. ''Perimeter, line of scrimmage, backfield, he's all over the place.''

Olsen called his growth as a blocker a ''natural progression,'' noting he hadn't been asked to block very much in college at Miami.
''It's a lot easier to be good in the passing game because a lot of it is natural,'' he said.

But he has learned something about blocking.

''It's not the strongest guy; it's footwork, leverage and hand placement,'' he said. ''Those are the things I've worked on with coach DeBord and coach Martz and coach [Mike] Tice.

''But it doesn't change overnight.''

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