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Olsen, Pace, Payne Must Improve

| September 19th, 2009

No matter what you’re told, Sunday is not a must-win ballgame for the Chicago Bears.  Falling to 0-2 puts the shovel to dirt but it does not even dig the hole, let alone bury the club.  What’s most important for this team is marked improvement on a week-to-week basis through the first six games of this season.  Get better each week and be ready for the final ten games, featuring an absurd number of winnable ones.

In that vein, I’m keeping my eyes on the following players:

Greg Olsen
Whether Ron Turner is responsible or not, Jersey Greg must become the go-to target Jay Cutler needs him to become.  With the Steelers committing so many linebackers to pressuring the quarterback and the best safety around on the shelf, Olsen should open multiple times over the middle of the field.

Orlando Pace
The worst mistake the Bears can make this season is sticking with Pace at left tackle after the born-on date.  Just because Jay Cutler possesses scrambling ability doesn’t mean he should have to utilize it every time he drops back to pass.  Pace must improve now because 34 year-old offensive linemen don’t gain steam as the season goes on.

Kevin Payne
Danieal Manning is sliding to nickel on obvious passing downs, giving Kevin Payne a chance to redeem himself at free safety (though he strikes me as much more a strong safety).  If Payne is more disciplined with his tackling and less gullible to obvious play fakes, he has a chance to be a terrific player in this system.  The system will still be garbage but the player can be good in it.

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