About the only thing puzzling about the Bears’ decision to hire Mike Martz as their new offensive coordinator was the length of time it took to make it official. Surely, Martz was head coach Lovie Smith’s first choice for more reasons than just the time they spent together on the St. Louis Rams staff early last decade.
The fact that it took nearly a month to replace the deposed Ron Turner shows there may have been some disagreement among the think tank at Halas Hall. Speculation had been that Jerry Angelo wasn’t sold on the idea of Martz taking over the Bears’ offense, but Smith had full jurisdiction over hiring his assistants.
“Everyone in the building has to be on board with anybody we bring into the building,” Smith said on a conference call Monday.
Chances are that the Bears were doing what they should have done: conduct an extensive interviewing process while talking to as many candidates as possible to see which coach would be the best fit. What a novel concept.
“As we started this process, I told you it may take a while, but we would take our time. [We] had to look at as many people as we possibly could to just go through the process to get the best guy that I thought we could get to help us achieve our goals next year. That’s what I feel like we were able to do.”
The Bears got it right. Whether or not you like Martz, whether or not you think his and Jay Cutler’s enormous personalities will clash, whether or not you think his offense will work on a poorly sodded field instead of turf, whether or not you feel Aromashodu, Hester, and Forte can be the next Holt, Bruce, and Faulk, the Bears made the right choice by bringing in Martz to coordinate their offense.
The fact is, Martz had the best credentials of any candidate that was on the market and the Bears’ choice was a no-brainer. Whether Martz can institute his offense and whether the players can pick it up in time to make a playoff run next year is another question.
“We wanted to make a change, wanted to be something different than what we were,” Angelo said.
Hiring Martz — a pass-happy guru to take over an offense that Smith has consistently said “gets off the bus running” — is about as big a change as a team can make. No longer can we expect to hear Smith preach that the team’s identity is running. He may tell us that they still intend to run the football, but what team doesn’t? Running the football means you’re protecting a lead and don’t need to play catch-up. Rest assured, though, that Cutler will not go to waste in Martz’s offense. He may get roughed up a bit because that’s what a poor offensive line plus seven-step drops will do to a guy.
Martz had a message Monday for those that might be skeptical of his offense working in the Windy City.
“You know, I’m very pragmatic in the approach,” Martz said Monday. “And I think that you have to analyze your personnel, the circumstances and situation like Soldier Field, and look at what you have with the conditions and then proceed from there.”
Martz was undoubtedly the best man for the job in terms of turning around a stagnant offense.
Martz added: “Really, it’s about winning games and just doing whatever it takes to take advantage of your strengths.”
He and Smith may only have one shot to keep their jobs, so you can take his words to the bank.