Martz takes blame: 'Tried to do way too much'
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz says he's to blame for Bears' debacle vs. Giants. (Brian Cassella/Tribune)
By Brad Biggs
The Bears' buck stops with Mike Martz.
The offensive coordinator said Wednesday he will take all of the blame for a wretched offensive performance Sunday night in the 17-3 loss to the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium.
Martz said he gave his players entirely too much to handle and consequently the Bears were squashed by the Giants, who set an NFL record with nine sacks in the first half. New York had 10 sacks total, the most ever against the Bears and tying for the most a Martz-directed offensive has ever surrendered.
"Let me just tell you guys this: I just feel terrible," Martz said. "The defense had a great effort in that game. I just tried to do way too much in a short week with these guys. They are not ready for that.
"We've got a bunch of young guys trying to learn how to play and we lost our poise, got on our heels and couldn't do much of anything right. That's an old coach's fault right there. You can pin that one right on me. Whatever went wrong in that game is my responsibility.
"The preparation for that game we felt good about, but it was just way too much for these guys to deal with, so just leave it at that if you would. These guys are going to be fine. I promise you they will be just fine. We'll make sure of that. We're going to make some adjustments. And each week you learn a little bit more about your players and about some of these things. Got a little bit too aggressive in terms of what we were doing and I know better than that. I am a better coach than that."
Martz said Cutler looked good in a limited role in practice.
"We practiced (Cutler) just to kind of see how he feels moving around and all that so he shared some snaps out there and we gave Todd (Collins) some snaps just in case and we'll just see where this goes," Martz said.
He reiterated that Collins will be the No. 2 ahead of Caleb Hanie.
Martz takes blame for offensive debacle
Martz takes blame for offensive debacle
Bears offensive coordinator says fault lies with him trying to do much
It was as bad as an unprepared Cade McNown can be.
Maybe worse when you consider franchise quarterback Jay Cutler was knocked out with a concussion on one of the 10 sacks, a Bears' record of ignominy that was set in Sunday night's humiliating 17-3 loss to the Giants.
The Bears totaled a meager 110 yards of total offense in the whipping, their lowest total since McNown could muster only 104 in a Dec. 17, 2000 loss at San Francisco when the team failed to cross the 50-yard line. The showing against the Giants was worse than anything from Terry Shea's B-plus era of 2004 when the Bears had four outings with 176 total yards or less during a seven-game stretch at midseason.
For that, offensive coordinator Mike Martz would like to take the blame. All of it. Martz talked for 10 minutes Wednesday after practice and didn't ask you to blame him, he implored you to hold him responsible.
Let me just tell you guys this, I just feel terrible," Martz said. "The defense had a great effort. I just tried to do way too much in a short week with these guys. They are not ready for that.
"We have a bunch of young guys trying to learn how to play and we lost our poise, got on our heels and couldn't do much of anything right. That's an old coach's fault right there. … .
"Preparation for that game, we felt good about it but it was just way too much for these guys to deal with so just leave it at that.
"These guys are going to be fine. I promise you they will be just fine. We'll make sure of that. We're going to make some adjustments. Got a little bit too aggressive in terms of what we were doing and I am a better coach than that."
The thing is the Bears weren't doing anything exotic as they watched the walls crumble around Cutler. Seven of the nine sacks came with four-man rushes. The Giants used a zone blitz on the first sack and the final one came on a simple nickel cornerback blitz. Against basic stuff, the Bears were overrun.
Is the offense too much for the Bears?
"Of course not," right guard Roberto Garza said. "We know what we have to do. We just have to get it done."
Veteran players who were around in '04 say there are similarities with the current playbook and what they used under Shea, who was hired because he was going to install Martz's offense. But they also say there's far more attention to detail now, and that's another thing Martz talked about, fine-tuning the little things.
Martz is not concerned Cutler will be timid in the pocket when he's cleared for a return as a result of the concussion and the pounding he took. The Bears have allowed 18 sacks, most in the NFL.
"You start worrying about confidence in your players and we have the wrong guys," Martz said. "We do not have the wrong guys, I promise you that. It's a coaching issue, period. That's all it is."
He also is not worried about a carryover Sunday when the Bears play at Carolina.
"That would be true if I wasn't so sure I knew and understood why it happened," he said. "… We're just doing too many things with guys who are trying to think under pressure.
"I've gone through this before and I hate to admit this to you, I'm not trying to be John Wayne. John Wayne died a long time ago. It's painful to stand here and tell you this, but that's just the way it is."