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.
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Mike Martz shoulders blame for offensive issues
By Sean Jensenon October 6, 2010 5:00 PM |
Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz insisted throughout his press conference that there was one person to blame for Sunday's miserable performance by his unit: himself.
"Let me tell you guys this. I just feel terrible. Defense had a great effort in that game. I just tried to do waaaay too much in a short week, with these guys," Martz said. "They're not ready for that. We've got a bunch of young guys, trying to learn how to play, and we lost our poise, and we got on our heels, and we couldn't do much of anything right. That's just an old coach's fault right there.
"You pin that one right on me."
Martz noted that the Bears had a short week, playing a Sunday night game after a Monday night game.
"We just asked them to do more than they're ready to do and handle, and I know better than that," he said.
So will he go back to the basics?
"People who do that, don't believe in what they're doing, and I believe in what we're doing," Martz said. "Just trying to do too much too soon, is what that is. We're fine. They'll be good. They'll be fine."
Here are some other highlights from Martz's presser:
* Martz on Todd Collins being ahead of Caleb Hanie on the depth chart: "If something should happen, where Jay was not able to play, then Todd is clearly our backup.
"That's our judgment. That's the way we judge it. Todd's a guy who has played a great deal and won, and played exceptionally well at this level. We know what he is. He's demonstrated that in the preseason. He can play at a high level. It's just a question of getting him a little bit more familiar. Very excited about Caleb and where he is. Caleb easily could be No. 2 right now. But because of the experience, and being in this competitive situation and knowing how to respond, and managing the game; these are things that are a little bit new to Caleb. We know, at least I feel good about Todd, in those pressure situations, and we anticipate him managing the game very well and playing very well, and that's why he's the No. 1 (backup) and that's just kind of how we feel about it."
* Martz on Jay Cutler: "Obviously, it's OK to be out here. But, it was a very light workout. Those kinds of questions, I'm not qualified to answer. I'm having a hard enough time just being a coach."
* Martz on Kurt Warner's comments that Cutler needs to get rid of the ball quicker: "You know, I'm not going to comment on that. We could all have done everything better, especially me, in particular me. I just wouldn't comment on someone else's comment. And I love Kurt to death. He's like a son. Everyone's going to have those kind of thoughts. but really, I'm the reason why that stuff happened, so let's just leave it at that."
* Martz on Cutler's confidence in his protection: "You know, when you start worrying about confidence in your players, we have the wrong guys, and we don't the wrong guys. We do not have the wrong guys. I promise you we don't. It was a coaching issue, period. That's all it is."
* Martz on if he's worried about this carrying over into another game: "No. That would true, if I wasn't so sure I knew and understood why it happened. So I know why it happened, in my mind. Clearly, clearly, we're doing too much. Not the wrong things. Just too many things. Our guys are trying to think under pressure in pressure situations in a short week, and things start going bad, and you can't regroup, and things snowball, and been there before. I've gone through this before... I'm just being very blunt and very honest with you. It's painful to tell you that, to stand here and tell you that, but that's just where it is."
* Martz on short-yardage issues: "We have to go back and look at what we're doing entirely on those down and distances. Make sure we're doing the right things first. It's not a personnel thing there. We just got to make sure we're not doing too much there, too.
We got to clean all those things up. This is a good wake up call for all of us. We need to go back and make sure... When you win, you kind of look past some things. You accept some things that you normally fix, if that makes sense to you. You won, in spite of something."
* Martz on seven-step drops: "You're talking to the wrong guy. Really, somebody feels like our deal is all seven-step drops, and that's a very small portion of what we do, actually. So, I think we all believe in the system, to be honest with you. It's not what we're doing, it's just how well we do it. It's new to everybody, and we got guys learning just how to play, on top of it being new, in a highly competitive situation. You just got to grind through that stuff. If I didn't believe in this - if we didn't believe in this - we obviously wouldn't do it. If we're doing something we don't believe in, or we're suspicious about, certainly wouldn't do it."
* Martz on halftime adjustments: "Let me just say this about that: we did adjust quite a bit, actually. It didn't work. It didn't work. When your adjustment works, everybody is excited. When it doesn't, everyone is not so excited. We didn't play well. That's my responsibility. For some reason, I didn't see it coming. When we got there, we just didn't have our pizzazz and we just weren't ourselves. And that's a coaching issue from the get-go."
Last edited by The Benjamin; 10-06-2010 at 08:53 PM.
Martz says Collins clear-cut backup
By Neil Hayeson October 6, 2010 7:03 PM |
If Jay Cutler doesn't play against the Panthers on Sunday, Todd Collins will get the start, offensive coordinator Mike Martz said.
You would think it would be a tough call since the Bears were content to start the season with Caleb Hanie as the backup before he was injured, prompting the team to sign the veteran Collins.
Collins was ineffective after replacing Cutler at halftime of Sunday night's game. He completed only 4 of 11 passes for 42 yards with an interception and a passer rating of 8.1. As previously pointed out on this blog, however, it was a tough spot for any quarterback, especially considering neither Collins nor Hanie get many reps in practice.
Hanie completed 3 of 4 passes for 36 yards during his brief stint.
As the more mobile of the two, a case could be made that he would be more effective. Martz, however, doesn't buy it.
"That's our judgment," Martz said when asked why Collins is the clear-cut No. 2. "That's the way we judge it. Todd's a guy who has played a great deal and won, and played exceptionally well at this level. We know what he is. He's demonstrated that in the preseason. He can play at a high level. It's just a question of getting him a little bit more familiar.
"We're very excited about Caleb and where he is. Caleb easily could be No. 2 right now. But because of the experience, and being in this competitive situation and knowing how to respond, and managing the game; these are things that are a little bit new to Caleb.
We know, at least I feel good about Todd, in those pressure situations, and we anticipate him managing the game very well and playing very well, and that's why he's the No. 1 (backup) and that's just kind of how we feel about it."
Last edited by The Benjamin; 10-06-2010 at 08:52 PM.
I lay ALL the blame on Martz. Even after 6 sacks he was still calling for 7-step drops. It was ridiculous.
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I actually pin some blame on Lovie. He wears the damn headset and has the power to over rule his coaches. He is the Fn Head Coach! Do what is right for your team and your players. Martz is not the HC. Put him in his place once in a while Lovie.
Originally Posted by StarkyLuv
Last edited by The Benjamin; 10-06-2010 at 11:26 PM.
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I get: Three wins gave Martz the confidence to up the complexity of the offense, so he tried installing more wrinkles in a short week. The offense didn't assimilate those new additions and got lost in the gameplan, losing their confidence.
Okay. So... why was the O Line blown out of the water from the first snap?
Martz is doing what any good coach does, take the blame for what your players did so that they can move on and focus on what is happening this week.
The game plan hurt the team, but execution killed it.
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clearly protecting his players
good for him, and the team
Winston Churchill: "Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak."
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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."
Caught in identity crisis
Offense designed to adapt has yet to develop go-to core for times of trouble
An offense needs an identity so it knows what it must do when nothing else works. According to the age-old theory, an identity is crucial during a crisis, and the Bears' offense is definitely in crisis mode. You have to know what you're best at so you know what to fall back on when you need to survive the type of onslaught the Bears faced against the Giants on Sunday night.
What's the Bears' offensive identity? That's the question Mike Martz must answer if he hopes to prevent Jay Cutler from getting rocked yet again.
''I remember Ron Earhardt was our offensive coordinator,'' ex-Steelers and Bears running back Merril Hoge recalled. ''Anytime we got into a lull or struggled, we wanted to re-set ourselves. We went back to our staples. Our staples consisted of three plays we could run against anybody anytime anywhere and be successful with it. Two of those plays were runs, and the other was a quick slant or hitch. That's what we went back to. We didn't go back to skinny posts or digs. We went back to real football and hit people in the mouth.''
The Bears are a quarter of the way through their first season running Martz's offense, and not only have they not hit anybody in the mouth, we don't know what the offense's signature is.
When you think of the Bears' offense, you think of Matt Forte creating mismatches in the passing game. You think of Cutler throwing an impossibly long pass to Johnny Knox and Devin Hester making that one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone.
After Sunday night's smorgasbord of sacks, you also think of Cutler flat on his back counting stars -- the ones circling his head.
But what is it that these Bears do especially well? That's the problem, you see. There is no handful of running and/or passing plays that defines the core of Martz's philosophy. It's impossible to resort to your base offense when it changes from week to week depending on what the opponent tries to take away.
Besides, Martz doesn't believe in returning to his roots in desperate times. He has more of a damn-the-torpedoes mentality.
''People who do that don't believe in what they're doing, and I believe in what we're doing,'' Martz said. ''Just trying to do too much too soon, is what that is. We're fine. They'll be good. They'll be fine. They got on their heels, lost their poise, and you learn from that, both as a coach, and a man, and as players. You kind of regroup and fix what you need to fix and you move on.''
The Bears' offensive identity has yet to include running the ball. They rank 30th in rushing. It hasn't included converting third downs, either. They rank last in that category, too.
Through the first three games, the offense's identity has been hanging in there until Cutler makes enough plays to win the game, which is why I have trouble blaming Cutler for holding onto the ball too long against the Giants. There's no doubt he did on several occasions, resulting in sacks when he could've thrown the ball away.
But as putrid as the offense was, they were only one play away from taking the lead before Cutler left the game at halftime with a concussion. Given that, and considering the difficulty Bears receivers were having releasing from the line of scrimmage against the Giants aggressive coverage, I can't blame Cutler for hanging in there with hopes of making a big play.
''If I didn't believe in this -- if we didn't believe in this -- we obviously wouldn't do it,'' Martz said. ''If we're doing something we don't believe in, or we're suspicious about, we wouldn't do it. That just breeds a lack of confidence. I've been doing this so long. We know the answers and how to fix it. It's just a matter of getting it done.''
Sometimes the best thing a team can do when it's getting dominated at the line on passing plays is quit asking your linemen to retreat while pass blocking and have them attack in the running game, which is what Martz tried to do in the second half. Unlike the Cowboys game, which his mid-game adjustments won the day, the Bears couldn't run the ball against the Giants, either.
Where that leaves them is in limbo heading into Sunday's game against the Panthers.
''We did adjust quite a bit, actually,'' Martz said. ''It didn't work. When your adjustment works, everybody is excited. When it doesn't, everyone is not so excited.''
Before the offense can discover what it is, the unit needs to block somebody, whether it's in the running game or the passing game, regardless of whether it's an offensive linemen, running backs or tight ends. The Bears won't know who they are or what their identity is until that happens, which is why it must happen soon.