Bears' tight ends need to get the drop on Packers' defense

2012-12-15T18:15:00Z 2012-12-17T19:22:06Z Bears' tight ends need to get the drop on Packers' defenseAl Hamnik, (219) 933-4154
December 15, 2012 6:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Jay Cutler says everyone's job is on the line this frustrating Bears' season.

Other than much-maligned coach Lovie Smith and a patchwork offensive line, tight end Kellen Davis may be on the thinnest ice.

The 6-foot-7, 267-pound Davis has been an enigma, dropping passes while stumbling and fumbling.

Davis has 17 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns this season but has caught only 41.5 percent of the balls thrown to him.

Losers in four of their last five and averaging barely more than 14 points per game during that stretch, the Bears (8-5) host division-leading Green Bay (9-4) and need help moving the football.

With Matt Forte getting only 14.7 carries per game and Brandon Marshall accounting for more than half the Bears' 245 receptions, Cutler was asked if his tight ends need to be more involved.

"I don't know. You'll have to ask Mike," he said of offensive coordinator Mike Tice, who gladly offered his views on the subject.

"We're trying to 'protect' first when keeping tight ends in, so it's hard to throw them the ball when they're protecting and that's a big reason why their numbers are down," Tice said.

Cutler has been sacked 31 times, second most in the NFL, and currently is recovering from a stiff neck and sprained knee.

"We've been very cognizant, the last month, of making sure 'OK, no more games where we feel we have this or that matchup won," Tice said, "because it seems like every time I say that, then we don't win that matchup."

Sharing the blame are Matt Spaeth and Kyle Adams, who have a combined nine catches for 61 yards. Of the three tight ends, Davis has been coach Lovie Smith's favorite since training camp.

"Would we like them to get more involved? Yes," Tice said. "And the way this thing works is when you're afforded an opportunity to make a play and you make a play, you get a chance to make more plays.

"And when you have a chance to make a play and you don't, figure it out. The math's not that hard."

Davis has been a target of media criticism with his inability to hold on to the ball.

"I'm not having the greatest season that I wanted to have," he admitted. "I went through a little bit of a slump in the middle of the season and I'm trying to bounce back from that.

"We have to be jacks of all trades. We've got to be able to run-block, pass-block, and do things in the backfield like play fullback and split out like a wide receiver."

And now for that dirty word: Drops.

"Basically, it's just focus," Davis said. "It sounds simple but sometimes it's hard to come back after you've had a drop. You've got to let it go, which is not always the easiest thing to do."

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