We're all excited that the Bears won yesterday, no doubt. It wasn't the prettiest game but the team played well enough to win, played better than their opponent and won a game they had to win to get right back into the thick of it. Obviously, however, Lovie and the Halas Hall crew will be saying something a long the lines of "Well this is where we were last year so we have a good shot..blah blah blah." False. Last year we were 4-3, lost to two pretty bad teams and were undefeated in division play. This year the team is trying to figure itself out and recovering from a 1-2 start and trying to battle back from a 1-2 division record. Anyway, I'm rambling, I am going to try to make a relevant point out of all this after the jump; if Martz is a lame duck, today is the day to fire him.So here we are, heading into game 8 of year two of the so-called "Martz-fense." Exactly one and a half seasons into the Martz era the team is 15-8 (17-9 including playoffs). They are currently ranked 18th in total offense for 2011 (through 7 games for us, but teams who played late yesterday and tonight's teams haven't been added yet) and last year we finished 30th.
The record isn't so bad, but when you factor in our special teams and defense you realize that the offense is solely responsible for about 3 wins last year (Jets, Eagles and Seattle in the playoffs) and one this year (Panthers). The rest were either team efforts or the defense dominating enough that the offense was able to get going.
I am not sure many Bears would say that Martz is the best person to run the team's offense. Even fewer, I am sure, would say that Martz is getting the most out of Jay Cutler's ability. Cutler is still not playing up to his potential, and personally, I think a lot of that is the offense. I do not think he is in an offense that is best suited to his abilities, that allows him to flourish and/or is getting him to play to his ceiling as a QB.
Perhaps other than Tim Tebow in Denver, I am not sure there is another quarterback who is being forced into a system that doesn't best suit his skill set.
We're in the bye week right now. I vote that after the plane lands in Chicago today, JA and Lovie call Martz into an office and fire him. His contract is up at the end of the year any way and it is looking less and less likely that the Bears are going to renew his deal.
Yesterday's game was just another annoying blip on the mess of the Martz era. We ran the ball well, we were setting up play action and Cutler, although he was shaky, was playing pretty well and fitting the ball into tight locations.
In the third quarter when the Bears got into Tampa territory with the short pass to Clutts, then we ran Forte for nine yards, now we were at the Tampa 32. Then Martz dials up a Hester end around that goes for -6. Now 2nd and 16 he dials up two straight passes, which are completed for 15 yards total but Gould misses the 41 yard attempt. What was that?
Wrose, to me was when in the 4th quarter, Tampa just scored to draw within three, Bears lead 21-18, we get the ball and slowly drive down the field with a run/pass ratio of (by my count) 4/7. That includes the Cutler sack that was negated by Aquib Talib's facemask penalty. Luckily, Gould made his 25 yard attempt and the Bears went ahead by six but why on earth did Martz call, in order; run, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, sack play, run, run, run, field goal. What is that?! Especially when it's first and goal at the opponents 4 yard line and the play calls are: pass, pass, sack. All incomplete passes mind you. Which only that penalty saves us and THEN Martz dials up the runs. But on that sack play I remember thinking "They are going to pass, I just know it." And why wasn't Clutts on the field? Forte was back in a single-back set. What this entire season had Martz thinking "Yeah the line can do it alone." COME ON!!
It's just getting old. I say, fire Martz today, and install Mike Tice. We won't have to scrap everything but it seems like Martz has already been stripped of a lot of his power anyway. That shot the FOX crew showed of Martz throwing his pencil in frustration after his third and short pass play didn't work, to me, showed that maybe just maybe he knew he'd catch hell from someone for dialing up a pass instead of a run. That's pure speculation though, it could have just been that it was a failed conversion regardless.
Tice could call more plays that fit our teams (and his line's) strengths and help the team succeed. After the Bears win over Vikings didn't Cutler rattle off Shane Day, Mike DeBord and Tice without mentioning Martz as who came up with a good game plan?
All I am saying is that if Martz is as good as gone at the end of the year anyway, why not pull the trigger now and get going in the right direction for the rest of the year and for the future.