Can Martz make necessary adjustments?
Can Martz make necessary adjustments?
He knows how to get in best position to win, but needs flexibility in face of failure
Dan Pompei On the NFL
Now that Mike Martz has been kicked in the gut, beaten over the head, socked in the chops and left on the side of the road, it's time to go back at him one more time.
To help him up. Hand him a headset. And ask him to do his magic.
Don't give up on Martz. Not yet.
"Brilliant" is a word I have used to describe Martz. And I'll use it again.
Because Martz is brilliant, I believe he will not be inflexible.
I know he has listened to a chorus of people, from the high and mighty (his bosses) to the low and feeble (his critics). Martz knows what he has to do to put his offense in the best position to win. He always has.
If I know Martz, it's not that he has tried to do it his way in spite of what everyone else thinks. It's that once he has gotten involved in games, he has lost sight of the big-picture logic and given in to the temptation of trying to exploit a defensive weakness for an explosive play.
A gentle reminder from the head coach in those situations would be recommended in the future.
We all should cut Martz some slack. He's still learning about his team. We all are.
And really, he has called four good games and two bad.
So let's see how he adjusts before someone gives him another punch.
Comprehend the trendHoles on the O-line
General manager Jerry Angelo has been criticized for ignoring the offensive line. It happened again this week when he failed to trade for Logan Mankins.
Except Mankins never was offered in a trade.
Certainly, we can second guess Angelo — and he can second guess himself — for not using more draft picks on offensive linemen. His most regrettable recent move probably was trading out of the 17th pick in the second round in 2009 and not selecting guard/center Max Unger — a player the Bears regarded very highly. Instead, they used their first pick — the fourth in the third round — on defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert while Unger was taken by the Seahawks.
The Bears' line would have a completely different complexion if the now-injured Unger were starting at guard.
Over the years there have been blockers who turned out to be good pros who the scouting staff was high on but the coaching staff was not. Or vice versa. Without a consensus, Angelo looked elsewhere.
What he was banking on was the coaches developing young blockers. And that hasn't happened as it has on many other teams.
According to a recent Dallas Morning News study, 17 percent of the starting offensive linemen this season were undrafted. Another 25 percent were drafted after the fourth round.
You have to go back to Chris Villarrial and James "Big Cat" Williams to find examples of late-round picks/free agents Bears coaches developed into starters.
That's why hiring line coach Mike Tice was essential. And that's why getting young players like J'Marcus Webb, Edwin Williams and Lance Louis on the field is so important.
Because the Bears have not used many draft picks on blockers, and because picks such as Josh Beekman and Terrence Metcalf didn't work out, developing late picks and free agents is no longer an option. It's a necessity.
Numbers gamesNo, no — not that way
The Bears' offense is supposed to be getting big chunks of yards. And it is. But it also is offsetting some of that by going 20 yards forward, 10 yards back.
They have given up 70 yards in holding penalties — fourth most in the NFL, according to STATS. The Bears have been called for holding seven times, more than all but two teams.
They also have surrendered 45 yards on nine offsides or false-start penalties. Only six teams have more.
The Bears have been sacked 26 times, giving up a league-high 168 yards in the process. The next-closest team, the Eagles, has given up 127 yards.
They also have had 21 runs stuffed for a loss of 38 yards. That's tied for eighth worst. And three pass plays have ended behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of 8 yards.
All told, the Bears have lost an NFL-high 214 yards on sacks, runs and passes and another 329 on offensive penalties.
That's 1 yard lost for every 2.58 yards gained. The Bears have gone backward once every 4.5 snaps.
Front-office chessDefensive end shuffle
The Bears still are looking for some pass-rush juice.
Mark Anderson failed to provide it.
They signed Charles Grant and gave him a two-week practice audition but thought he was more of a run defender than pass rusher. They have enough of those.
They considered making a pitch for Alex Magee, whom they liked very much in the 2009 draft. But they decided against giving up draft picks for a player who already disappointed one team — he was traded from the Chiefs to the Bucs.
They inquired about the retired Aaron Schobel, who had 10 sacks last year for the Bills. But the 33-year-old said he does not want to play. He also turned down a lucrative offer from the Texans.
They settled on promoting Barry Turner from the practice squad, at least for now. Turner, an undrafted rookie from Nebraska, was impressive in the preseason.
The coaching staff knows he has some of the speed and traits it look for in pass rushers. What they don't know is if he has the strength to play the run and offset some of his edge rushes. Turner has put on about 10 pounds recently, so the hope is he will have developed more power.
But if Turner doesn't provide the pass-rush juice the Bears are looking for, they will keep looking.