I wake up this morning and check out the Tribune sports website and see that Steve Rosenbloom has decided Mike Martz needs to be fired as offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears. I just shook my head. As most of you know, I was born and raised in New Jersey and have lived in New York City for the past decade. The birthplace of sports radio. The home of Mike Lupica, my sports literary hero. I love Chicago, however. The Bears, of course, but also Wrigley Field and Ozzie Guillen and the Jordan Bulls and Steppenwolf Theatre and deep dish and Old Style and the broad’s voice at O’Hare that sounds like my friend Steph. It’s my second home. The fact that Chicago sports fans, my favorite in the universe, have to deal with such consistently third-rate sports journalists from major news outlets is one of the most depressing things going.
Editor’s Note: If this were a non-fiction book, the full title would be Coaching Continuity a Must This Offseason, or The Stupidity of Steve Rosenbloom.
If Mike Martz is responsible for Todd Collins playing two series in the NFC Championship Game, he should be slapped across the mouth and chastised publicly in Millennium Park. (I contend, however, that decisions like these should always be on the head coach.) But placing Collins in the #2 role does not overshadow the remarkable improvements the quarterback and offense made in 2010. Martz discovered, after the bye week, the balance required to effectively run an offense in Chicago. By season’s end he had begun taking full advantage of Matt Forte’s skill set. He was a strong offensive line from something special.
Rosenbloom actually criticizes Martz for not running a typical Martz offense, as if he would have preferred to see the Bears struggle all season in the post-Coryell system as opposed to seeing an intelligent playcaller adapt to the abilities of his talent. He criticizes the Bears for not running the ball enough late in the game Sunday when the opposition expected a run on every single damn play and had begun bottling up Forte on every carry. The problem Sunday were not Martz’ play calls, with the exception of the scratch-your-head Earl Bennett end around. The problems were the inability of the starting quarterback to find a wide open Devin Hester and the third-stringer to avoid B.J. Raji and hit Matt Forte instead of throwing a game-ending pick. The calls were fine. The execution was garbage.
The best part of Rosenbloom’s piece? He advocated the promotion of Mike Tice to playcaller. Tice, you might know, oversaw the worst unit on the football team for the duration of the season. Tice, you might not know, has never called a play in a football game in his life.
The Bears must maintain every facet of this coaching staff for at least the duration of the 2011 season. They can not force Jay Cutler into his fourth offensive system in four years. They can not expect a young offensive line, young receiving corps to improve with playbook turnover every season. Look no further than the two teams playing in next week’s Super Bowl to realize the importance of system continuity and organizational faith.
The Bears were one game away from the Super Bowl with this coaching staff. These coaches proved this season they can adapt. They can change. They deserve another chance to win two more games.