Fumbling a new experience to Bears' Olsen

Tribune staff reporter

A feast of subjects for the week in Halas Hall, but let's start with the man who was voted by , as the goat of the Bears' loss to Carolina.

Tight end Greg Olsen lost two fumbles on Sunday, eliciting many disapproving comments from fans on our . When he walked in during open locker room Wednesday, he let out a sarcastic "What a surprise!" as reporters flocked to his locker.

But Olsen was gracious, and answered many a question about what is easily the worst game of his college or pro career. (Well, maybe that fourth preseason game in 2007 when he injured himself while still playing in the second quarter.)

"I've kind of moved on from that. I just gotta have a good game and go in and just prepare like I do every week. Each week I prepare to go in and make plays for the team and do things, and obviously last week is not indicative of the kind of player I am."

To be fair to him, he's right there. According to a cached ESPN college stats page, Olsen didn't fumble in college, and he didn't fumble last year. It's probably because of this none of his teammates are worried.

"The guys have been supportive, which is nice. No one's going be as hard on me as I was. ... We just got to bounce back as a team and personally and have a good game this week."

Olsen also said he has to "focus more on tucking [the ball] away," and that his history of not fumbling caused him to take his ball-protection skills for granted. Some other opinions on Olsen:

Tight ends coach Rob Boras: "He feels like he's let some people down. The biggest thing he's talked about is just, you got to learn from it. It's a long season, he's going to have a bright career ahead of him and you can't change the past. All you can do is learn from it and try to get better. ... As much as our defense puts a priority on stripping the football, and as much as he practices against our defense and going through all of training camp, it'd be hard to say you take the ball security for granted. But obviously now, if that was the case, hopefully we see a change there."

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner: "I talked to him Sunday night when we got off the plane and said, 'Hey, you're a hell of a player. You're a great player, you've made a lot of great plays for us, you're going to make a lot of great plays for us, we're going to come to you. You know, you made a couple of mistakes, obviously. You made two mistakes in that game.' I said, 'I made some mistakes in that game, too. It wasn't one play that lost the game, it wasn't two plays, it was several plays.' "

On the first Olsen fumble, reader Chipdowski wasn't quite sure it was a fumble: "Rahula or anybody? Was it a CATCH??? I am listening to the game on WBBM. Should Lovie have challenged Olsen's fumble??"

I watched my DVR'd version of the game and it looked like Olsen grabbed it, planted two feet, turned and the ball was poked away by linebacker Thomas Davis running over to help in the left flat. So no, Lovie Smith should not have challenged the play, because he would have lost.

The readers' issues with the offense didn't stop at Olsen. Kyle Orton was a frequent subject of disdain on the board, going 1-for-7 on pass attempts classified by the NFL Gamebook as "deep." The only one he completed was to Brandon Lloyd in the first quarter for 32 yards, and it appeared that he grossly underthrew Lloyd, who had to adjust considerably to make the catch.

Then, when he overthrew a wide-open Marty Booker on what was an almost-certain touchdown in the fourth quarter, Bearfan in Vegas said, "Glad to see Orton has enough arm to consistently overthrow on the deep pass"

The Tribune's David Haugh got in the Tuesday edition of the Tribune.

Turner added his take: "I think it's just a matter of getting the timing. That one to Marty at the end of the game, we practiced that most of the week with Devin [Hester], that was a play we had targeted for him, he wasn't in, Marty was in, he did throw to Marty during the week and we expect to make those plays. I think it's just a matter of getting reps, getting the timing and we'll hit those. I'm confident we'll hit them."

The offense wasn't the exclusive target of disapproval from the fans. When Jonathan Stewart broke one of what seemed like at least 20 tackles, SDFan chimed in: "That's 0 for 3 on [safety Kevin] Payne's last tackle attempts."

I thought Payne, and several other of Stewart's would-be tacklers, appeared fundamentally sound on their tackles, and that Stewart was just beastly strong to run out of them. Payne schooled me but good:

"I think it was a combination of both. A couple of times we could be in better position, but a couple of times we were in good position but he broke tackles. ... We looked at film and broke down a lot of things. I think I hit him and one time missed him, just bringing my feet. I hit him, and I wrapped up, but my feet were off the ground so I wasn't able to continue to drive and he still was on his feet so he could drive and get away. That's a key point in making tackles, when you make a big hit, if you don't knock him off his feet, he will continue to drive and lift you off the ground."

Holy cats. Actual information. I hope I can get more out of him in the next couple of weeks before Lovie Smith invariably clamps down and tells him not to say anything remotely helpful.

Finally, a few comments I want to address without the help of Bears employees.

PasadenaDC said: "Olsen, Benson, Haynes, Grossman, Colombo¬Ö thank you Jerry Angelo!!"

I counter with Harris, Tillman, Vasher, Briggs and Hester, with provisional counter-offers of Dvoracek, Forte and even Orton. For a fourth-round pick, he's done decent service and the jury is still out on him. Not for long, but it's still out. And if the jury's still out on whether Dvoracek, Forte and Orton will be good, it's definitely still out on whether Olsen will be bad.

From WrecksAlwaysSux: "Carolina punter: 59-yd punt. Maynard: 36-yd punt."

In the game, Panthers punter Jason Baker had a gross average of 48.3 yards per punt to Maynard's 40.1. But in net punting yards, Baker's advantage was 38.5 to 35.3. Now granted, three yards looms large, especially when the Bears got stuffed on 4th and 1, but three punting yards and three offensive yards are very different.

Finally, That Guy wants to know: "Rahula, are you psyched for Rock Band 2?"

Yes. I just wish they'd release it to Wii right away instead of rolling it out to Xbox first.

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