Smith expects the bears to hit the ground running and (passing)
February 23, 2012 Smith expects offense to hit ground running (and passing)
By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 2/23/2012 12:41 PM
INDIANAPOLIS – Bears fans aren’t the only ones who don’t want to hear about their team’s offense possibly getting off to a slow start with Mike Tice replacing Mike Martz as coordinator.
“Now how would that look for me to come here and say, ‘Hey, be patient, we’re going to have growing pains?’” coach Lovie Smith said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
“I don’t think anyone is looking to give us that and we’re not looking for that. We expect to be a good football team next year right away and I think we have the core in place to do that.”
Coach Lovie Smith has high expectations for the Bears offense under Mike Tice.
Speaking to the media Thursday for the first time since the day after the regular season ended, Smith discussed his decision to change offensive coordinators for the first time.
“When you start over when you finish the season, I always look at what I think we need to do to take another step, and I thought this is what we needed to do, making the change at that position,” he said.
“As far as I why I went with Mike Tice, the last couple years I’ve had a chance to see Mike in a lot of different roles with what he was able to do with the offensive line and I just thought what Mike believes in and what I really believe in will be a good fit for us, for our football team, for the Chicago Bears.”
Tice was promoted from offensive line coach to coordinator Jan. 6, three days after the Bears announced that they were parting ways with Martz after two seasons.
“I got a chance to go through the interview process with [Tice] and like everything he did with it, and that’s why I made the move as quick as I did,” Smith said. “Going in there’s always a plan to look at as many guys as possible with every position. But once I find the right guy, I normally shut it down from there, and that’s what happened with Mike.”
Tice’s appointment as coordinator will enable the Bears to maintain continuity on offense. Asked about changes to the scheme, Smith said: “The short answer is we’ll keep some of the things, the protections, how we call some of the things, they’ll stay the same. But with each new year, there will be something [different]. But it should be a smooth transition.”
Ideally, the Bears want an offense that’s capable of establishing the run and generating explosive plays down the field in the passing game.
“We’re just trying to score as many points as we possibly can,” Smith said. “As far as which way we do it, we can debate that. I think I am on record about my feelings about having a strong running game though, and we have a great running back in Matt Forte. But you have to throw the ball too. Of course, we are going to try to strengthen that as much as we can.
“As far as philosophy, that is what it is: ball control, protect the football, ball security, all that. All of those things, if you just look at my eight years here, put them together, I think you can come up with a plan on what we’re trying to do.”
Smith also hired two new position coaches in Jeremy Bates (quarterbacks) and Tim Holt (offensive line), who will join holdovers Mike DeBord (tight ends), Darryl Drake (receivers) and Tim Spencer (running back). Smith considered adding a passing game coordinator, but ultimately decided against it.
“You discuss it and I thought about a lot of different things, but in the end I didn’t feel like we needed one,” Smith said. “I was trying to get the perfect group that I could on the offensive side of the ball.
“Everybody will have input. Jeremy Bates is our quarterbacks coach coming in. He’s been our coordinator in this league. I know what he’s done and I know his history with Jay Cutler. I just didn’t feel like we needed any more titles.”
Smith said that Cutler is “pretty pumped to say the least” about reuniting with Bates. Working closely with Bates in Denver from 2006-08, Cutler completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 9,024 yards, 54 touchdowns, 37 interceptions and an 87.1 passer rating in 37 starts.
“Every position I fill I try to find out as much as I possibly can about all candidates and of course Jay having a background with Jeremy, I talked to him a lot,” Smith said. “I knew how he felt about him.
“But I looked at Jeremy a couple years ago too, so I was familiar with him also. I thought he was just a natural fit for him to come in as our quarterbacks coach.”
High Fives / Like - 1 BEAR DOWN!, 0 Dislikes
I think with having the best QB RB combo in the league (since Tavaris Jackson went to Seattle), the Bears really are set to make great strides on offense, and that they'd more than doubled the number of times they scored 30+ points in one season than the year before. if they can just make a few more pieces fit in this puzzles, ranked offense be damned, they could keep up with anyone..
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I'm really hoping w/Tice we will be even more physical this year. Especially goal-line punch and seeing FB Clutts get some rushing attempts down there or anywhere.
Arguing on the internet is like winning the special olympics, even if you win your still messed up.
Restore the roar!
I can't wait for the upcoming season. The Bears should be really on track toward competing for a division championship along with the Packers and the Lions. I personally think that, depending on what we do about wide receivers and the o-line, we could wind up with one of the very best offenses in the NFL next season. I don't think Detroit is going to last long as the top of the division since they are experiencing cap hell right now, and I think the Packers are going to have to do a lot to bolster their defense enough to compete seriously for a championship. That being said about the Packers' defense, we need to be upgrading at LDE and at CB. If we can address all of these issues, I don't see why we can't at least come away with a division championship or at worst a wild card berth.