When Mike Martz took over the offensive coordinator duties for the Bears last year, it was well known that his style of offense doesn’t rely much on the use of tight ends as receivers but instead as blockers. During Desmond Clark’s tenure with the Bears, he’s proven to be a nice option in the passing game as well as being a good blocker.
For some reason, Martz and Head Coach Lovie Smith didn’t feel the need to utilize Clark for the majority of the 2010 season and he was inactive for all but five games. Alternatively, the Bears chose to go with Brandon Manumaleuna, who formally played for Martz in St. Louis, as their primary blocking tight end. Throughout the year, Manumaleuna struggled to get the job done.
That being said and with Greg Olsen having his own issues with blocking defenders, the Bears should have taken advantage of what they had in Clark. Wouldn’t it have made sense to use Clark’s blocking skills because of Manumaleuna’s problems and the fact that the Bears had the worst offensive line in the NFL last season?
Clark has been on the team for Lovie Smith’s entire coaching run in Chicago so he should be quite familiar of Clark’s capabilities. It seems to have been more of a Martz decision to keep Clark inactive for most of last season but Smith is the head coach and could have overruled Martz’s choice to stick with his crony Manumaleuna.
That doesn’t matter now as all signs coming from Halas Hall indicate that Clark’s days with the Bears are over. Even he doesn’t believe he’ll be back for the 2011 season…
“If I look at it right now, I would say no,” Clark said last January shortly after the Bears’ loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. “I wasn’t used this year. Where would I play if I came back, how would they use me? Of course I want to be back, but those are business decisions that they need to make in the front office.”
It’s no secret that Clark is getting up there in age at 34 years old but he may still have enough gas in the tank to give the Bears one more productive season and he would be a nice insurance policy if Manumaleuna has another rough year. However, the Bears will more than likely go into the 2011 season with Olsen, Manumaleuna and Kellen Davis at the tight end position.
It’s been baffling how Clark has been handled the past year; hopefully the Bears know what they’re doing if they ultimately choose not to retain him.
Have a look at his stats from his time in Chicago, let us know how you feel about Desmond Clark and how he was treated in the comments below!