Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Bear Necessities

As promised, today I'm gonna share my opinion on Mike Martz as the Offensive Coordinator of the Chicago Bears, which basically for me boils down to three things. Two of these are pretty important, the other less so. The first thing - the lesser thing - is the relationship between Martz and QB Jay Cutler. Martz openly criticised Cutler last season for his general attitude and demeanour, something which can't have missed Cutlers attention. Now really it shouldn't factor into the equation. Both are professionals and any ego pains should be set aside in order to focus on the team and what needs to be done to help Chicago win games. But you have to think that Cutler will hold a bit of a grudge in the back of his mind over that, possibly straining their relationship at a critical moment. Again, this is probably the lesser of the three arguments. The second is more significant, that being the poor record of Jay Cutler. I appreciate that Martz is being brought in to help Cutler etc, but the fact is that Cutler was looking like Jake Delhomme at times, particularly showing a fondness for red zone picks. The Bears biggest problem was a failure to be able to run the ball effectively and thus make defenses do something other than just make Cutlers life hell. Mike Martz however is very much a pass first coach. He comes from the same lineage as Norv Turner, running what is now called the 'Air Coryell' offense, which can actually stake a claim to being the original offense covered by the term 'West Coast Offense'. The end result can only be that the Bears will continue to do the same things that got them into trouble last year; that is relying on a big armed QB with zero mobility and inconsistent accuracy to finesse the ball in the final 20 yards of the field. It simply didn't work last year and probably wont this year. Of course it doesn't help when you consider my third argument against Martz as the Bears offensive mastermind, namely the lack of true receiving threats. This one is a big issue for me. As I said, Martz and Norv Turner are cut from the same offensive cloth. But the huge variance between their current positions is that Turner has a plethora of top flight talent at his disposal in the receiving department. Martz has Devon Hester, a nickel back and special teams returner who cried so loudly that he was finally allowed to become a wide out (which speaks volumes about the strength of the leadership in Chicago). Hester is anything but a number one receiver and that really doesn't help either Martz or Cutler. Maybe I'm being narrow minded, but I just can't see the positives of this setup. For me this hiring was all about trying to fix the issues with Cutler by bringing in a supposed "Quarterback Guru" instead of actually looking at what was on the table in terms of offensive tools and then trying to find a guy who could make it all click and make Chicagos' offense better. I can speak with some knowledge on this subject as the same thing happened to my beloved 49ers. Both Martz and Turner were brought in at various points, ostensibly as the offensive Coordinator, but really just to try and solve the problem with Alex Smith. Both experiments ended badly. Like the 49ers, what Chicago really needs on offense is someone to come in and make the available tools work most effectively. With San Francisco it's about finding someone who understands how valuable Frank Gore and Vernon Davis are. Fingers crossed that this season Jimmy Raye can make it happen. In Chicago they need someone to sort out that woeful O-line, someone to bring Matt Forte back into the limelight, and someone to have the balls to tell Lovie Smith that Cutler is a big armed beast with little else to commend him as a starting QB. Sadly for Bears fans, Mike Martz isn't that guy. Until next time, have a great day everyone.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

hmm..I was hoping to see something good come out of it. I know Martz has a good mind and I watched the struggle in detroit, but always felt he might do better elsewhere. I agree with your assessment of not having the right pieces around him. I really think Cutler has the tools to be great. His arm is obviously strong, but I also think he has good feet in the pocket. Not good, as in scrambling, but good as in deceptive for the defense. Thanks for the post.