The Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs reported that the Tennessee Titans have interest in Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice for their vacant offensive coordinator position. Mike Heimerdinger, who formerly held the position, was fired last week when Mike Munchak took over the head coaching job vacated by Jeff Fisher.
Because the open position is not a head coaching job, the Bears do not have to grant Tice permission to interview for the job, similarly to how the Packers denied quarterbacks coach Tom Clements permission to interview for the Bears’ offensive coordinator position last offseason.
Lovie Smith generally has been supportive of his assistant coaches in their pursuit of career advancement, but this may be one situation where he chooses to be greedy. Although the offensive line was a problem for the entire season, it’d be a mistake for the Bears to let Tice go.
Tice is widely considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the league and he helped turn a unit that was terrible in the first half of the season into one that played just good enough to help the offense move the chains during the team’s second-half surge. It was his suggestions that helped the Bears settle on the offensive line combination of tackles Frank Omiyale and J’Marcus Webb, guards Chris Williams and Roberto Garza, and center Olin Kreutz, a combination that stabilized the offense enough to help them win the division and get into the playoffs.
Given some better talent to work with for next year, he could help make the offensive line an adequate one, and might even be able to develop a Pro Bowler as he did in Minnesota many years ago.