Bears notebook: Tight end Kellen Davis working to get better
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org
Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley breaks up a pass intended for Bears tight end Kellen Davis on Sunday. | Genevieve Ross~AP
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Like the Bears as a team, tight end Kellen Davis is just trying to make the most of things.
Touted by coach Lovie Smith as having the skills of the top pass-catching tight ends in the NFL, Davis allowed a sack on the Bears’ first offensive play of the season and has struggled to make an impact all season.
Davis has 17 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He also has eight drops and fumbled on the Bears’ first offensive play in a 13-6 loss Nov. 11 to the Houston Texans.
‘‘I’m not having the greatest season that I wanted to have, but I’ve just got to keep pushing through and get better,’’ Davis said. ‘‘We’ve still got games left, so there are still opportunities out there.’’
Davis’ blocking has improved as the Bears have used him more in pass protection, but the drops get all the attention.
‘‘It’s basically just focus,’’ he said. ‘‘You’ve got to look the ball in. It’s simple football. But sometimes it’s hard to come back after you have a drop. You’ve got to let it go, which is not always the easiest thing to do.’’
The Bears still have faith in Davis as a downfield threat, but their need for pass protection has stunted his development.
‘‘I don’t resign myself to living with anybody not playing up to where we see them or what their ceiling is,’’ offensive coordinator Mike Tice said of Davis. ‘‘We want our players to get better, and we’re trying to find a way.
‘‘Coach [Mike] DeBord works diligently each week to find ways to get him better, help him catch more balls, help him relax. That’s what we do. That’s what our job is. . . . So we’re not resigned to that. The reason the numbers are down is because we’re keeping him in a lot more in protection.’’
The Bears will be without linebacker Brian Urlacher (torn hamstring) when they host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, but Packers tight end Jermichael Finley said that might be a good thing for them.
‘‘Urlacher is at the end of his career right now; he’s playing a little slow out there,’’ Finley told Fox Sports Wisconsin. ‘‘I don’t think they’re losing too much if he’s out. Putting another guy in might help them a little.’’
Urlacher, 34, also has been slowed by a knee injury all season.
Taking a day off
With injuries mounting, the Bears didn’t have a full-fledged practice. Instead, they took a rare ‘‘mental day’’ to recuperate.
‘‘We have a lot of guys banged up, and [I] just felt like we could get more work done [in] meetings,’’ Smith said.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said safety Charles Woodson, who has missed the last six games with a broken collarbone, won’t play Sunday. Linebacker Clay Matthews, who has missed the last four weeks with a hamstring injury, practiced and hopes to play.
Contributing: Sun-Times wires