Well then Bears fans, we actually have a legitimate Offensive Coordinator and he goes by the name of Martz. He has a scheme that he runs, and a play book that more closely resembles a phone book than an instruction manual. He comes with a history that has both good (The Greatest Show on Turf) and the bad (49ers and Lions), but this hire isn't so much about history as it is abandoning it, in large part. Follow me below the fold for the three key things that need to happen to start a new era in Chicago, and for the reason it doesn't matter even if that new era turns out to be just a dream.
1. Martz must learn how to incorporate the TE position into his offense in some way, shape, or form.
Is Martz capable of properly employing a Tight End? He should be, known around the league as an offensive mad scientist, it defies all logic that someone with his offensive mind can't wrap his head around a tall powerful receiver that can sometimes be employed to block.
The reason this is incredibly important is that Greg Olsen is a fantastic young football player, and despite a few minor issues has been one of the most reliable receivers and a near constant draw of double teams. Without him on the field our extremely young wide receivers are going to find themselves under more and more pressure while learning a new scheme and to a great extent still learning the finer points of their position.
2. Martz must learn how to take advantage of a mobile quarterback.
Everyone is well-versed in the idea of Martz's scheme and how it places an incredibly large burden on the offensive line as they rarely receive help from extra blockers of any kind. On top of this, in the past Martz has had a lot of quarterbacks generally referred to as pocket passers. Kurt Warner, Bulger, even Kitna, none of them are well known for their ability to move in the pocket. So you generally saw one of two things, either the offensive line was dominating or the QB was tasting the turf all day long.
Last I checked, while our offensive line is looking better and could look a lot better by the start of the first game, it's still anything but dominating. However, the one thing we do have is a quarterback that is extremely mobile, throws well on the run, and can occasionally make a defense pay for not keeping an eye on him as he can gut out some tough first downs and go for the end zone.
Now, both of these things can be used together to our advantage. For instance, if implemented well a mobile QB can reduce the reaction time of the defense - giving the offensive line an advantage in the trenches. Forcing the opposing defense to stay aware of one more thing while they are playing is inherently good for us, but that's why this is something that Martz must show us he can do. He's never done it before and it's absolutely necessary if we're going to keep Cutler from getting planted 20+ times in the first six weeks of the season.
3. Martz must learn how to properly instruct extremely young players in his system.
Simply put, there are more than a few stories of Martz being not only stand-offish, but outright rude and uncooperative with young players that are struggling to one extent or another with learning his system. Now since the majority of our offense is full of young guys, this is going to have to change and change extremely quick. If there has ever been a teacher's bone in this guy's body he better start using it because our best four wide receivers don't have a guy with more than two years experience starting in the league. That guy is Hester, who is known himself for not being the smartest guy in the world picking up new things, and didn't even play WR in college...
If Martz takes his same borderline hands off approach with the wide receivers on this team he's doomed to failure before he even calls his first play.
Now then, all of this stuff is incredibly important, but at the end of the day it isn't anything to stress out over. This is a simple case of testing the old maxim of: "Can an old dog learn new tricks?" If he can, then I have no doubt that Martz will be fairly successful, if not, Martz is going to get clean sweeped out of the league right along with Lovie.
So at the end of the day, even Martz's detractors only have to put up with him in protest for a single year. Either he'll prove you wrong, or prove you right, but it won't be a long term learning experience. That much is guaranteed. However, even if things don't entirely pan out with Martz, and we miss the playoffs next year, we should come out in a great position barring a lock out. Our extremely young wide receiver corps, even if they don't entirely do well with the Martz offense, are going to get a massive crash course on route running and timing, something that should help no matter what offense we end up running. Also, we should be grabbing at least one, if not multiple, young offensive linemen this year, so putting them into a fiery crucible that is a Martz offense should get them to gel fairly well going into the season post-Martz.
So everyone, just sit back and enjoy the show as we'll either be an extremely different team next year, or a much better team the year after.