Tuesday, October 18, 2011

End of Martz in Sight?

Although the offense clicked and looked great in the Bears win over the Vikings Sunday night, apparently the Jay Cutler-Mike Martz relationship has soured. For Jay to be yelling at Martz on a nationally televised game indicates that Martz may have lost one of his stronger allies, seemingly sealing his fate of not being asked back after the season.

This is obviously the right move. The Bears offense worked so well Sunday only after weeks of complaining by nearly everyone in Chicago forced Martz to FINALLY adjust his game planning. Martz is known around the league for his acerbic, if not downright cool, personality and demeanor - perhaps the reason why he has bounced around so frequently.

But really, Bears fans wouldn't care about his personality if he had brought his so-called "Greatest Show on Turf" with him to Chicago. But in reality, both the personality and the offense were never a match for Chicago, and the Bears should have simply looked elsewhere for an offensive coordinator in the first place. His play calling this year was atrocious, and he never seemed to grasp the reality that this Bears team was not the 1999 St. Louis Rams, which featured Kurt Warner, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, and Marshall Faulk, along with Orlando Pace anchoring the offensive line. Not quite the same package with Cutler, Johnny Knox, Roy Williams, Matt Forte, and J'Marcus Webb.

Either way, his unreal ability to NOT adjust to anything that a defense threw at him has finally rubbed too many people the wrong way. There is almost no question that he won't be back next year, and the Bears should keep that in mind for the rest of this season (which is still salvageable) and make sure they maintain the same kind of playcalling that they did in the Vikings game. Even Cutler mentioned how simple it is to run shorter routes (the receivers couldn't master the longer timing routes anyways) and take shorter drop backs in order to save Cutler's life. Not to mention that Cutler should be allowed to adjust plays at the line of scrimmage. He's a NFL QB for crying out loud. But hey, what do I know, the Bears could probably do that same kind of offense (which shouldn't be credited entirely to Martz) and be successful, and Jerry Angelo will give Martz a contract extension. Good god I hope not.

Martz belongs with a team with a good offensive line and with players geared for an explosive offense. Teams that immediately jump out are Green Bay and New Orleans. The problem is, much as the trend is these days in the NFL, both of those teams' offense is run by their head coaches, Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton. Given the fact that NFL teams are becoming more comfortable with quarterbacks coming from spread offenses in college because they are used to making quick decisions and throwing the ball all over the field, it will be tough for Martz to find his niche in a league that is quickly moving in the other direction. One thing is for sure, however - his niche shouldn't be in Chicago and the Bears should start looking for someone to replace him who values protection and utilizing Matt Forte, among other things. I'm not suggesting a full return to a "managing the football" offense, but a comfortable medium between that and the (Not) Greatest Show on Turf we have right now. Regardless, all of this comes as welcome developments as the Bears try to salvage their season.