"Hey, um, guys? Who the hell let Martz in here again?"
Under Mike Martz's offensive tutelage, the Bears allowed 56 sacks in 2010 and 49 sacks last season - a total of 105, and a number that was probably the direct downfall of the Martz offensive era and led to his resignation. Well, the insistence on five- or seven-step drops on third and short (and in just about any other situation as well) didn't help.
So in an attempt to bring in a bit of offensive thinking similar to what Jay Cutler can do best (that doesn't involve sitting in the backfield like a pinata for 75 of those sacks), the Bears promoted Mike Tice from the offensive line coach to the offensive coordinator. But did this move just prompt the resurgence of another problem Cutler has had throughout his career?
Recall that back in 2010 and 2011, much time and many comments were spent on the myriad of reasons Cutler struggled, and one of the primary ones was the lack of coordinator continuity - from Mike Shanahan in Denver to Ron Turner in Chicago and then to Martz. Surely spending more time in Martz' system would help Jay's growth as a quarterback. I'm still convinced somewhere, Tim Hockemeyer has the "Dan Fouts Comment" on macro, that Fouts didn't become a Hall of Famer until he was in an offensive situation that stabilized.
Instead, the system struggled, and Cutler had his best games when he had to improvise.
Did Martz have to go? Probably - some of his playcalling made the offensive line situation worse that it actually might be, but the offensive problems ran deeper than Martz's playcalls, between the pressure allowed, lack of offensive playmakers, and especially in the latter portion of the year, injuries.
So Martz takes the fall. But Tice is still a virtual unknown. We've looked at Tice from a variety of angles, along with quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, but do we still really know what's Tice and what he will or won't do come game time?
I recognize why Martz's "philosophical differences" led to his resignation - Cutler wasn't exactly feeling the whole "getting sacked repeatedly" thing - but I find it kind of interesting that in order to fix the problem of sacks and bad offensive line, the Bears move on to their third offensive coordinator in four years, and throw continuity out the window.
Maybe continuity isn't as much of a requirement as I thought it was - after all, if something works, something works, and if something isn't working or is, you know, bad, you don't stick with it just for continuity's sake (Hm, same argument could be made about the offensive line...). And from the sounds of OTAs, maybe Tice has an offense that actually works with Cutler. Maybe it's just a smarter Martz offense, which I don't think any of us would really complain about.
What's your take on continuity in the NFL? Is it really a requirement for a successful scheme, or a successful unit of players?