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Is Mike Martz on his way to Bears?

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  • Is Mike Martz on his way to Bears?

    Is Mike Martz on his way to Bears?
    Source says Martz might be man to replace Turner, rework offense and try to save old pal Lovie's skin
    November 25, 2009
    BY BRAD BIGGS [email protected]

    With the Bears on a three-game skid and piling up losses for the first time in the post-Super Bowl era, the burning question around the NFL is torn from the pages of ESPN The Magazine: Who's got next?

    A source close to former St.Louis Rams coach Mike Martz, most recently the San Francisco *****' offensive coordinator last season, said the architect of The Greatest Show on Turf might finally be headed to Chicago. Martz -- infamously slated to be the offensive coordinator for Dave McGinnis before Michael McCaskey fouled up McGinnis' hiring in 1999 and Dick Jauron came to town -- is an out-of-work coach serving as an analyst for NFL Network and surveying where he might land next.

    How about with the Bears, as coach Lovie Smith's coordinator?

    ''Martz would love to work with Jay Cutler,'' said the source, who cited the close relationship between Smith and Martz in sharing the information.

    Smith is expected to stay with the Bears in 2010 because of more than $10 million in walking-away money.

    But offensive coordinator Ron Turner and at least part of his staff could be another story. The Bears (4-6) purged their defensive staff last offseason, and it might be the offense's turn in January as Smith makes a final effort to turn around a franchise headed toward its third straight season of missing the playoffs. Since Turner was hired in 2005 after the firing of Terry Shea, the offensive staff has been untouched. In that same span, Smith has changed seven defensive position coaches and moved the title of defensive coordinator from Ron Rivera to Bob Babich to himself.

    Smith and Martz have known each other forever. Smith started at Arizona State in 1988, a year after Martz had left the Sun Devils program. Martz made Smith the Rams' defensive coordinator in 2001. When Smith began assembling his first Bears coaching staff in 2004 and was looking for an offensive coordinator, he turned to Martz for ideas. Martz didn't have anyone on his staff to recommend for the job, so he called then-Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil, and that's how the Bears got Shea, the Chiefs' quarterbacks coach. When Shea tried to hold up the Bears for big money, Martz devised a plan where the Bears could use Jim Colletto and Marc Trestman as co-coordinators.

    Now, Martz might bring his own playbook to Halas Hall.

    Martz, who last week on said, ''I do want to coach again,'' angered Smith in September when he called out Cutler on the debut of ''The Coaches Show'' on NFL Network, criticizing Cutler's news-conference etiquette and looking out for Smith by saying Cutler ''doesn't understand that he represents a great head coach.'' Surely, that could be ironed out. As coordinator, Martz would bring instant credibility and a Super Bowl ring.

    ''We had some great years in St. Louis,'' said Bears left tackle Orlando Pace, who played under Martz for seven seasons with the Rams. ''I am surprised he didn't get a gig.''

    Martz was offensive coordinator under Rod Marinelli in Detroit in 2006 and 2007 before his season in San Francisco. The common denominator in both stops was he didn't have a quarterback, and there wasn't a lot of talent to go around. Cutler would change that.

    ''When we were rolling good, we had a good mix,'' Pace said. ''[Quarterback] Kurt [Warner] was probably the best at picking up the blitz and knew it was coming, and they worked well together. I think it was a combination of coaching and having the right keys in place to make the plays.''

    Pace said Martz's struggles with the Lions and ***** ''may have been a combination'' of a lack of talent and defenses figuring Martz out.

    ''When you've had success for a while in the league like he did, guys take a look at it and say, 'Well, what can I do to disrupt his stuff and his success?''' Pace said. ''Maybe that was a part of it, also.''

    Martz has been viewed by some as a rogue coordinator who acts at his own discretion and sometimes puts the quarterback and even the defense in bad positions. He has a strong bond with Smith, though, and if Smith turns to him again for assistance, whom else would Martz recommend?

    ''Coach Martz is a big-play guy,'' Pace said. ''He wants the big plays all the time. You have to have a defense that is sound. He's going to put up 30 points a game if he can, but you have to have a defense. We had some instances like that [where the defense was put in tough spots]. But like I said, he's a gambler. He gambles, and it paid off for us a bunch of times.''

    If Smith makes a move, is there anyone else he'd want to gamble on with his future on the line?

  • #2
    Re: Is Mike Martz on his way to Bears?

    If the Bears could get a good receiver in the first round of the draft then why not sign Martz. He made Sean Hill and Jon Kitna look like decent quarterbacks so who knows what he could do with Cutler. Having a reverse situation from the early part of this decade also seems very interesting with both guys still calling the plays but this time Lovie Smith is in charge.


    • #3
      Re: Is Mike Martz on his way to Bears?

      I would love to see Martz back in football and I think the Bears would be a good job for him,my the only drawback is Cutlers attitude and will he be responsive to a system that requires a ton of work and study.


      • #4
        Re: Is Mike Martz on his way to Bears?

        Not good news for Jay Cutler actually. With the way Martz runs his offense and the status of the Bears offensive line right now, Cutler will be running for his life more than ever.


        • #5
          Re: Is Mike Martz on his way to Bears?

          Offensive line for Bears is a mess, no way can Martz go in and expect Cutler still to be standing if he asks him to take 5/7 step drops!! Watched the game agaist the vikings last night and it was sad to see how far Orlando Pace's play has dropped off. He was up agaist Jared Allen but he seriously looks done. On a side note the Vikings look to have the most balanced team in the NFC even with New Orleans being un0defrated thus far...


          Related Topics


          • Nick
            Mike Martz hired as Bears offensive coordinator
            by Nick
            Per Chicago Tribune and NationalFootballPost reporter Brad Biggs.
            -02-01-2010, 01:10 PM
          • Nick
            Martz joins Mora Sr. in criticisms of Bears QB Cutler
            by Nick
            Another Lovie coaching friend fires on Cutler, Mora adds on too
            By Brad Biggs on September 15, 2009 12:52 PM
            Chicago Sun Times

            At this point, it's fair to wonder if Lovie Smith shares the same viewpoints as his mentors.

            Tony Dungy stepped out this spring and was critical of Jay Cutler's leadership ability, and now Mike Martz, another close friend to Smith who lobbied hard for him to get a head coaching job, has piled on.

            Martz and Jim Mora Sr. made pointed remarks about Cutler's postgame press conference Sunday night at Lambeau Field after he threw a career-high four interceptions in a 21-15 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Bears were 0-for-3 in the red zone and spoiled an all-around defensive effort. Cutler strung together a series of cliches and said miscommunications were partly to blame for the turnovers.

            "When I saw that postgame press conference last night, I thought he looked completely immature,'' Mora said on the premier of The Head Coaches on NFL Network Monday night. "He acted like he didn't even care."

            What's much more disturbing from the Bears' standpoint, however, is the criticism that came from Martz, who suggests the team is not handling him properly.

            "He just doesn't get it,'' Martz said. "He doesn't understand that he represents a great head coach and the rest of those players on that team ... somebody needs to talk to him."

            Smith remains close to Dungy and Martz both. It's difficult to imagine they would be critical of the marquee addition to the organization--the replacement for Sid Luckman six decades later--without knowing Smith would be understanding and accepting of their evaluations. Dungy called Cutler's makeup into question before.

            "We'll see about his maturity level,'' Dungy said in a teleconference announcing his addition to NBC's coverage in early June. "That's what I would question. And some of the things that happened leading to him leaving Denver ... that would concern me as a head coach. He can make all of the throws, but quarterbacking is much more than just making throws."

            Cutler can come across as being brusque in press conferences to uninterested and it's fair to say he was short Sunday night. What Dungy and Martz saw gave them reason to be concerned beyond the mistakes on the field.

            ``Having always handled my postgame press conferences in a professional way, I'm an authority on these types of things,'' Mora joked, referring to his "playoffs" rant that has become a popular beer commercial. "I just didn't think he was very professional, very accountable. I could give him a tip or two.''

            It's going to be interesting to see what Smith's take on the situation is Wednesday. His new quarterback continues to take fire, and this is more friendly fire.
            -09-15-2009, 11:33 AM
          • RamWraith
            Credit Mad Mike with a big assist in Lovie's development
            by RamWraith
            By Jeff Gordon

            The National Football League has made historic progress.

            Not only are two African-American coaches squaring off in the Super Bowl for the first time, but another fresh face like Mike Tomlin is getting his head coaching opportunity.

            This should have a domino effect in the coaching ranks, creating more opportunities for African-American coaching prospects at every level. This progress will make the leadership of this sport far more diversified.

            The NFL’s “Rooney Rule” forces teams to interview minority candidates. But this directive doesn’t force team executives to operate with an open mind.

            Individuals like Mike Martz further this cause while giving capable coaching candidates their break.

            Mad Mike wasn’t a crusader. He didn’t follow a social agenda while assembling his coaching staff. He was just an offensively oriented head coach who needed a strong defensive coordinator.

            He looked across the NFL for the best man for the job. He hired Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebackers coach Lovie Smith, a former colleague at Arizona State, and trusted him with a big assignment.

            He knew Smith had tremendous leadership potential. He knew that Smith had paid his dues, perfecting his craft in a number of successful programs. He admired the Buccaneers defense and, therefore, the work of Tony Dungy and his coaching staff.

            Lovie appeared ready to make the jump.

            “He’s a good friend, but really and truly I have a lot of friends out there who I may or may not hire,” Martz said during his first training camp with Lovie aboard. “Smith is a guy who I have always admired as one of the best coaches I’ve been around for lots of reasons — his character, his ability to communicate with players, his work ethic . . . in my opinion, he’s going to be a head coach.”

            Martz allowed Smith to coordinate. He gave him coaching freedom and allowed him to guide the team’s personnel decisions on the defensive side of the ball.

            When Smith managed to shore up a feckless Rams defense, Martz praised him effusively. Lovie isn’t much of a self-promoter, so Martz took care of that for him.

            Some coaches hide their assistant coaches, even their coordinators, from the media. Some head coaches want all the news and analysis to come from them. Some head coaches are paranoid control freaks.

            Martz allowed Smith to build rapport with reporters, to explain his philosophies and his decision-making process. Mad Mike's ego is quite healthy, even by NFL standards, but he didn’t allow it to eclipse Smith’s professional development during his three seasons in St. Louis.

            Mad Mike didn’t want to lose Smith as defensive coordinator, given the huge role he played in the Rams’ success. But he talked him up as a candidate...
            -01-24-2007, 01:35 PM
          • Jack_Youngblood
            Lovie Hire Martz, Bears Become The Next Dynasty?
            by Jack_Youngblood
            Is This Possible?
            -01-02-2006, 01:30 AM
          • UtterBlitz
            I miss Martz
            by UtterBlitz
            I am watching the Bears Cowboys game and it was so nice to see a super long pass to knox and than a nice TD catch by hester. Beautiful play calling. Love it Martz. Miss those days.
            -09-19-2010, 11:14 AM