Let's not mince words about this. The O-line was atrociously bad last year. Why? Three reasons:
There's already been plenty of focus on the players, so I'm going to target the coaches. O-line's are judged on two factors. Penalties and Sacks. And since there's no site I can find that gives details on penalties caused by O-lines, you get sack stats.
Here's Martz's and Tice's side by side, since holding an Coordinator or O-line coach or better position.
|Year||Sacks||NFL Rank||Sacks||NFL Rank||Comments|
|2000||44 *||11th||35||17th||Martz promoted to HC|
|2001||40||13th||47*||7th||Tice promoted to HC|
|2003||43||4th *||42||10th||A six-way tie for giving up that many sacks. Neat!|
|2005||46 *||6th||54 *||2nd||Mike Martz suffers heart infection and misses season from Oct 10th on, both coaches are fired.|
|2006||63 *||2nd||-- *||--||Martz joins the lions, Tice joins Jacksonville as TE coach.|
|2007||54 *||3rd||--||--||Martz fired at end of season, one sack less given up than league leaders.|
|2008||55||1st||--||--||Martz joins 49ers, fired during season, led the league in sacks.|
|2010||56 *||1st||56*||1st||Both coaches join the Bears, led the league in sacks.|
So, from what we know of each coach, we know that Martz favors a pass-happy offense, where the running back is used in space as another receiver, and the TE is a exaggerated FB, and Tice played as a TE, taught blocking to other TE, taught blocking to O-lines, then passed those duties on to someone less qualified when becoming a HC. So, how do all these sacks affect the QBs? Well, let's look at how many injured QBs have each had under their watch?
|Year||Martz's injuries||Tice's injuries||Comments|
|2000||1||0||Kurt Warner injured his hand|
|2002||3||1||Kurt Warner injured his hand, followed by an injury to Jamie Martin, followed by an injury to Marc Bulger. Culpepper hit with Madden Curse|
|2003||1||1||Kurt Warner's hand injury never fully healed, cut by team. Culpepper injured, but comes back later on.|
|2004||1||0||Marc Bulger injured, replaced by Chris Chandler, Chris Chandler demoted|
|2005||2||1||Marc Bulger injured when blocked on INT, Culpepper injured on run after refusing to slide.|
|2007||2||--||Lions QBs are injured, no one really pays much attention.|
|2010||4||4||Do you really need me to recap these?|
So, what can be done? Well, for starters, as is already obvious, the Bears need a better O-line. Given that the site's fan base believes that the two first players the team should pick are OL, and they need to specialize in pass protect.
Tice, if able, should attempt to get the players to focus on pass protection during the off-season. Though, if he will not have time to get the O-line to mesh, there's not much he can do.
And Martz needs to design and use plays designed to the strengths of his players. I just spent three and a half season watching Brad Childress trying to smash good players into typecast roles in a West Coast Offense. If Martz keeps trying to smash the Bears offense into The Greatest Show On Turf, he's going to end up getting Cutler injured and out of the league a lot sooner than he should be.