Is Martz a good fit for Cutler and the Bears?

The “Mad Scientist” is coming to Chicago: The National Football Post reports that the Bears have hired Mike Martz to become their next offensive coordinator.

What’s interesting about this hire is that Martz wasn’t GM Jerry Angelo’s first, second, third or even fourth candidate for the position. Angelo had Jeremy Bates, Rob Chudzinski, Hue Jackson and a host of others ahead of Martz on his wish list, but all of the candidates bowed out, presumably because head coach Lovie Smith is on the hot seat. Why would anyone want to go to Chicago if there’s a possibility that they’ll get axed in a year anyway?

Why would anyone outside of Martz, that is.

After serving as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator for just one season, Martz was out of football last year and was itching to get back into coaching. With so few options, it makes sense that he would jump at the opportunity to join the Bears.

They’re desperate, he’s desperate – it works.

But will it work? Martz was the same person that criticized Jay Cutler earlier this season for being immature following a loss to the Packers in Week 1. Martz reportedly got the Bears’ blessing to fly down to Tennessee over the weekend to meet with Cutler and clear the air, but will the marriage work?

Martz is still regarded as one of the brightest offensive minds in football and his track record speaks for itself. Anyone that can turn the Lions’ offense into a top 10 passing attack deserves praise, although the reason why he has been ousted everywhere he’s been is because he doesn’t run the football. He also has no use for pass protection and his quarterbacks are often sitting ducks because he always runs plays out of three and four receiver sets, thus leaving less linemen in to protect his signal caller. That’s not good considering how bad the Bears’ offensive line is and given that Cutler often forces passes when he’s under duress and doesn’t mind throwing as many interceptions as humanly possible during 60 minutes of football.

I see this union between Cutler and Martz ending in one of two ways: An explosive partnership that makes the Bears one of the most excited passing teams in the NFL, or a beautiful disaster that will be worthy of watching from the front row.

Either way, it should be a fun year in Chicago.

Was Martz a good hire for the Bears?
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Bears interview Martz for O-coordinator job

According to the Chicago Sun Times, the Bears interviewed Mike Martz for their vacant offensive coordinator job on Friday.

Martz had spoken to Bears head coach Lovie Smith early in the process, but he finally got an interview today. Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers is believed to have made a strong impression on the Bears during an interview Thursday, and he or Martz could compel the Bears not to wait for any assistants on the two Super Bowl teams.

As for Martz, he and Smith have plenty of history; Smith was Martz’a defensive coordinator in St. Louis. But Martz will have to prove several things today. First, that he isn’t going to ignore running the ball, which is essential in Chicago yet goes against the grain of his track record. And second, that he can co-exist with his players and coaches, particularly assistant head coach Rod Marinelli, who fired Martz when he was the head coach of the Detroit Lions.

This would be one desperate party hiring another desperate party. The Bears have had zero luck in trying to replace Ron Turner (whom they fired earlier this month) and Martz wants to get back into coaching after a one-year hiatus as an analyst on the NFL Network’s “The Head Coaches.”

What’s interesting about this potential marriage is that Martz criticized Jay Cutler earlier this season after the Bears’ QB was nonchalant in a post game presser after he threw four interceptions in a Week 1 loss to the Packers.

“He just doesn’t get it. 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,” said Martz.

As a fan, I would love to see how Martz and Cutler would interact. It would either be an offensive explosion every week or be a complete and utter disaster. Either way, sign me up for that scenario.

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Bears should take a long look at Paul Hackett

Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times recently chimed in on the Bears’ offensive coordinator dilemma (as in, it’s almost February and they don’t have one) and suggested that Jim Zorn should be on the team’s radar.

On the surface, hiring Zorn might offer the Bears some value. Outside of Mike Martz, he’s the biggest name available and he did have success with the Redskins in 2008 before they crashed and burned during the second half of the season.

But the problem that Jensen seems to forget is that Zorn was a disaster this past year in Washington and had his offensive play-calling duties stripped from him mid-season. Granted, that doesn’t mean Zorn can’t rebound and become a successful OC elsewhere, but there are seemingly better candidates available.

One in particular is current Raiders quarterback coach Paul Hackett. He has a ton of experience working with quarterbacks and had successful stints as an offensive coordinator with the Chiefs (’93-’97) and Jets (’01-’04) before settling in as a QB coach for the Bucs and Raiders over the past four years. He also recruited Carson Palmer when he was the head coach at USC.

During his five years as Kansas City’s offensive coordinator, the Chiefs made the playoffs in four of those five seasons. They also ranked fifth in offense in his last year there before taking over as USC’s head coach from 1998 to 2000. During his stint in New York, the Jets made the playoffs in three of his four years and while his offenses never cracked the top 10, don’t forget that the J.E.T.S. didn’t have a roster full of Pro Bowlers on the offensive side of the ball.

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Bears to hire Mike Martz as coordinator? speculates that Mike Martz may have emerged as the favorite to become the Bears’ next offensive coordinator.

As NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported on Thursday, Perry Fewell is planning to accept an offer to become the next defensive coordinator for the Giants. That’s a big loss — from a public relations standpoint — for the Bears, and Lovie Smith particularly, under whom Fewell worked in the past. In order to save some face, the Bears might pull the trigger on Martz in order to “try to add some credibility to their offseason,” according to a tweet from Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert discussed why the Bears haven’t yet hired Martz, and why they should:

“This is far from an ideal scenario. But there’s little doubt Martz has a long history of implementing dynamic passing games. The Bears have devoted too many assets to Cutler to ignore that. Martz’s history, and his experience in quickly installing a scheme, might give the Bears their best chance at a quick fix.”

Martz generally favors quarterbacks that he can mold into his own, which doesn’t describe Cutler. I agree with Seifert in that this would be a quick fix scenario at best, and a move that appeases some Bear fans more than it solves the team’s offensive woes. That’s not to say that Martz won’t do a good job, but is he the right fit? That’s debatable.

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