Chicago Sun-Times

An O-C maybe worth considering

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Came across a link to a story that made me think this guy should be someone the Chicago Bears should consider as offensive coordinator.

And Craig Johnson's credentials are hard to ignore.

You could argue -- quite strongly, in fact -- that he saved Vince Young's career and salvaged the Tennessee Titans decision to select the former Texas quarterback third overall in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Young was teetering toward the "bust" label, when the Titans decided to start Kerry Collins ahead of him. But Young, after Collins got the team off to an 0-6 start, finished 8-2 and nearly got the Titans into the playoffs.

Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger certainly deserves credit. But not as much as Johnson, the Titans quarterbacks coach.

"Coach Johnson was in my corner a whole lot, just motivating me and keeping me focused a lot and keeping me informed of what was going on," Young told the Nashville City Paper for a story published on Dec. 6.

Johnson, who also worked with the late Steve McNair, focused on encouraging Young and helping boost the young quarterback's confidence.

"I tried to be there and give him confidence and let him know that I had a lot of confidence in him at the time, and that when he came back, he would get things done," Johnson told the City Paper.

Young, at times, looked like a total disaster. So if Johnson could help turn him around, I think that gives him quite a bit of credibility.

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32 Comments

While many of the guys we are looking at are excellent at developing quarterbacks (Bates, Johnson, Clements, etc.) not many of them have a lot of experience as a play-caller. Martz and Jagodzinski have the most background calling plays, but that does not necessarily mean they are the best choices.

We just need to be cautious when we interview to ensure we get someone who can call a game, and not just default to the same 15 plays like our coordinators of the past.

Has Johnson ever run an offense before? Still seems like Martz -- an OC who has an established record of making offenses (& their QBs) significantly better -- is the best choice, and certainly better than taking a chance on someone who's never been an OC before.

No matter who they take as OC, though, they certainly need a high-quality QBs coach to make sure Cutler keeps learning how to be a better quarterback!

I definitely agree with Joe. We need someone who has experience and success as an OC. I'm sure that's what lovie is thinking since its his job on the line. If Mike Martz can get Jon Kitna to pass for 4000 yards and have the Lions passing game ranked in the top ten in his first season as OC, imagine what he could do with Cutler

I remember Craig Johnson from his days at Northwestern (Rose Bowl Team). A great offensive mind that can develope the QB position and provide game-day strategy. I think he was a canidate and interviewd for the Tampa Bay Bucanneers Offensive Coordinators position last year. I've located and read the article (http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/sports/man-behind-vys-revival-its-not-who-you-think)and I was impressed. This guy should be on our radar and interview list based on the task at hand and his body of work.

For years I've been pro-BEARS. I've recently worked it out that being pro-BEARS = pro-McCaskey = bad for the Bears in the Long run.

So suddenly, this whole Jerry-Lovie-Ron-Culter-Clueless fest has gotten much better. Here's my logic.

1. I've been a fan for 20+ years now I'm rooting against them; how many others are out there like me, I bet a lot.

2. What are the odds, they replace 2 coordinators and end up with both of them being SO GOOD that they go from 7-9 to 10-6 when JA is drafting and there 1st pick is a 3rd rounder, I say like less than 5% or 1/20.

3. A year of poor performance + A year of labor dispute = more lost interest in this team = less income for the McCheapskis

4. So lets say things just get worse and worse; doesn't that equate to some eventual sale to an owner with a brain.

5. Hence, I'm pulling for young & inexperienced. a la a more charismic John Shoop for OC and one of Lovies friends for DC. I mean this is better than the openning night of 24 because you just know they are going to end up with coordinators that completely re-define the word incompetent.

I don't understand what the issue is. Martz got production out of Jon and Kitna and Roy Williams, for Pete's sake. Look what happened to Detroit when Martz left! To get the most out of Cutler AND Matt Forte, Martz should be the guy. No question. I'm more worried about Forte than I am about Cutler.

I don't think Jay Cutler was as bad as Vince Young was a year ago. Cutler is still completing 60% of his passes and can find the end zone, Cutler just needs to cut back on the picks, this can be fixed with a running game or a more balanced attack on offense. This is the type of offensive coordinator Chicago needs. Also, if Lovie Smith is gonna stick with his scheme on defense, which is speed based, the Bears offense has got to keep their defense off the field better. Lovie's scheme is never gonna work if their on the field for most of the game, they'll simply wear down as the game goes on. The best way to keep your defense off the field is with a running game, an effective running game. Chicago is setting themselves up for failure if they bring in a pass happy o-coordinator. Again, I wouldn't base my choice for an o-coordinator on someone who can just help Cutler, the Bears need to look at the overall scheme of things. I think with a more effective running game you'll see Cutler's picks go down, the red zone offense will improve, and the Bears would be more effective on defense. I say work on that o-line and bring in a coordinator with a balanced attack, just an opinion GO BEARS!!

I personally ould like to see the Bears take into serious consideration Jim Zorn as a OC and/or QB coach...

Doug,

Without question, anyone who reads your post will be sorry. Those are 2-3 minutes of precious life we will never get back. I can honestly say I had to read it twice, because I can't believe someone as ridiculous as you can REALLY be a Bears fan.

Thank you for helping contribute to the stupidness of the world.

Have mercy on your soul....

Lovie needs a Big Name to get all of us fed up fans back. Who would be best for the job doesn't matter. In fact, it never has. Before this year, people got jobs based on their lack of potential to threaten Lovie's job. Now they'll get their job based on the opposite.

I only hope the Bears know what they want to be before they go looking for an OC. Right now, I don't think they do.

Look at the Packers who let a future HOF go and gave the team to Aaron Rodgers. In his second year at QB, Rodgers has the Pack back in the playoffs and the team looks and acts essentially as it did with Favre.

A strong-armed QB who can make plays thru the air or his feet
A group of large receivers, who can catch in traffic, run after catching the ball and can block
Tight ends who are effective in passing and blocking schemes
A solid, but not necessarily spectacular running game
A solid defense with opportunistic corners and safeties

That's called understanding your identity and sticking to it.

Compare that to the Bears who have:

Spent most of its attention on converting a kick returner to a wide receiver
Professed a "run first" mentality, but executed as a "pass first" offense
Operated a "bend-but-don't-break" defense that hawks the ball and creates turnovers, but rarely executed in that manner and lacked talent in the secondary and the d-line
Acquired a mobile QB, but forced him to operate as a dropback passer
Kept its biggest and possibly most talented receiver on the bench most of the season
Spent millions to improve its o-line but almost all of the experiments failed

The Bears enter the off-season with a marginally talented team on offense and an aging, underperforming defense.

No picks.

Limited talent available via free-agency.

A tougher 2010 schedule.

Unless the Bears are willing to pay for a talent like Brandan Marshall (and put up with his shenanigans), this team is going to take a few seasons to turn around.

Keeping Lovie at the helm extended the length of the turnaround.

He stays committed to playing an out-dated scheme without the personnel to run it effectively.

Isn't that the definition of insanity?

I've thought a bit about Zorn too,HSZJ60, but I think Martz is a better choice. I liked Zorn's approach as a quarterback, but if Martz had as much to do with Warner's success as seems indicated, that reunion of St. Louis coaches could be a bog boost for the Bears.

I cant understand the enthusiasm for Martz. He's another Detroit Lions cast-off!! We already have Marinelli, and are interviewing the Naked Coach from the Wendy's Drive Thru fiasco...

Since when are we trying to be a branch off the Matt Millen tree??

When you look at the attributes that are needed to be an effective NFL Offensive Coordinator you will not locate every possible component in each coach. With this said, Craig Johnson main attributes seems to be as a great communicator coupled with meticulous pre-game preparation and the use of personnel groupings that effectively served as the foundation of the offensive strategy for the Tennessee Titans. Researching Johnson, he is viewed as offensive strategy and design guru, as well as an excellent QB coach. We should at the very least, consider him as one of the early front-runners for our Chicago Bears. Da Bears...

I think it's childish to root against your team just like it is childish to make a serious big deal about who may or may not come around as OC. Whoever they pick will have detractors who swear they made a mistake. Let it play out and not have any negative expectations. Just wait and see.

Ted, Jinny & kids will only spend enough money to keep the cash coming in. Fans want a winner. They want profit. With the chance of a player strike looming, they're fingers will turn to stone when they pick up the check book. So, just sit back, watch the show, and wait for 2014 as the next time the Bears have a chance to compete for the playoffs.

Shame on you mckasky's, You've squandered Halas's legacy! when bear fans look to the cheesheads as a blueprint to a winner and view the bears as a joke it's time to make wholesale changes, not token sacrafices!!! If I was owner I'd fire everyone from phillips on down,(beancounter???) as a fan I simply plan to move on with my life, and buy no more merchandise or waste anymore time.

Seedy, Rodgers is not in his second year, he is in his 5th year. The Packers brought Rodgers along the way your suppose to bring a QB along, 2-3 years on the bench learning the system. Rodgers has been in the same system for 5 years, the Packers have been running that system sense Holmgren.

What system do the Bears run? Who is it built around? What type of players do they need for that system? Now Lovie may suck as a coach but at least he brings an identity to the defense. Its not built very well, he doesn't call plays very well, but its still a system.

You look at the good teams and most of them have an established system, a way of playing. They look for players to fit their system. Thats not what the Bears do. They just draft players they like even if they don't fit the system. They trade for Cutler and try to make him a pocket passer in a ball control offense that can't run. Cutler didn't fit that system. When Grossman was here they tried to run more of a Gibbs offense deep passes and a power running game. Then Orton came along and they went to a ball control offense. The Bears run Power O but continue to draft and sign Linemen who fit a zone scheme, and use a one cut back instead of a power running back. Turner runs a classic WCO but never had the players for it. Then he gets WCO QB and Lovie wants him to be a game manager and play ball control. The last time the Bears had an offensive identity was the 80's.

Just look at the Bears offense, you got zone blocker types trying to play Power O, you got a one cut back trying ot be a power runner, you got undersized fast recievers, instead of the larger less fast recievers that have good timing that have made the WCO what it is. They have a mobile QB that fits a WCO perfectly, but the Bears try to make him a game manager and pocket passer. How many times did Montana rollout in a game? He used to kill us doing that. So even though its part of the system, and the QB you have is actually great at it Passer rating of 130 before this year, 114 ths year. But Lovie didn't want him to do that.

The Bears organization are idiots.

Mora just got canned in Seattle. Now their are two head coaching jobs available. Word is Pete Carroll will be the next head coach their and Bates is going with him.

Seattle HC, which also means they may need new coordinators.
Buffalo, needs a whole new staff, but the HC position will draw top candidates.
Wahington, wouldn't you rather work for Shanahan, he is going to need new coordinators. His son is said to be the next OC but they still need a DC.
New York is still a bigger draw than Chicago and need a DC.
Then maybe the Bears who have a lame duck coach and it looks like a 1 year job for coordinators.

You can forget Frazier who has a year left on his contract, no way the Vikings let him make a lateral move to the Bears.

Lots of Jobs out their and the Bears are not exactly number 1 on anyones list save Martz who nobody else wants. The Bears don't have a lot of options and will probably do what they always do and wait till the top guys are gone and then pick from the scraps and say how happy they are. Can't wait to see the team pass the ball 70%-80% of the time.

Oh and this just in the Bears have contacted Martz. Shock oh the shock. I am so surprised.

The coach and scheme the Bears put in place mean nothing unless the line improves dramatically. Turner's scheme and play-calling would have worked if Forte had holes and Cutler had protection.

It came together nicely towards the end of the year, and they need to keep the momentum going by finding a quality center and more depth along the whole line. I do think Martz would provide much better in-game playcalling, but he's also just as hate-able as Cutler. Bad combo, easy to root against. Oh well, that's fun too.

Okay, here goes: Call me evil, a cynic, hopeless, a traitor, etc. But I hope Lovie continues to hire his BFF because, it will continue to solidify his odds of leaving next year. Anybody that genuinely believed that he was going to be fired after this season with more an a quarter left on his contract, they need to be reinstated into the mental health facility they escaped from. Now I know all of you here are smart enough to know that Lovie stepping out of the box and actually hiring somebody that wont be his puppet is like trying to find a friendly scorpion. Martz will probably be the next OC and Fewell will most likely be the next DC because they are the best yes-men for Lovie out there.
What the three stooges said the other day was exactly what politicians feed us citizens daily: repetitive and consistent garbage that too many of us will ultimately believe! If we fans here truly want change-and I cannot emphasize it enough-stop giving them money! Stop buying their products, their tickets, etc. Start staging literal sit-ins by NOT going to the games! Guys, the power is in our hands, so please start using your powers and stop feeding the beast.

Thank you,

Ish

I feel that Mike Heimerdinger would be a great asset to this organization. Yes he as worked hard breeding great athletes such as Eddie George, Steve McNair,Derrick Mason, and Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews and other players, the what's in question is his credentials.Many of these players during their career with the guidence of Mike lead the NFL in many categories. Derrick Mason and Drew Bennett under his coaching blossomed into two great receivers. Let's not forget that Mike's play calling at tennesse is what assisted Jeff fisher in their playoff runs in 2000,02, and in 03. His familiarity with Jay Cutler and some of Chicago's receivers could bring an offense that struggled at many points this season to a level of competition that Ron Turner could coach them to. Last season under Mike Heimerdinger the Titans offense was ranked third in the NFL in red zone offense. Play calling like this is rare and could be what propell the bears offense into a front running position for the upcoming year and could allow them to compete with some of your elite NFL offenses.

of course martz will get the job and that's fine. he can work with losers and make them ok. when he was with the lions their passing offensive went from 27th to i think 7th in one year and that was before calvin johnson got there.

he made jon kitna, roy williams, mike furry and those other two losers rodgers and mike williams actually look like nfl players
so i think martz is ok

i think if the bears could get malcom floyd they'd be ok at wr.
what? yes floyd he's a poor man's vincent jackson. i'm just being realistic

so if you have floyd, DA, knox and bennent with martz having culter chucking up the ball why not? and we know forte is a better recieving back.

sorry no hester. i think they ruined hester. he's thinking too much out there and what made him great was that it was natural for him. i think they should dump him off while he still has a name and some value.

and about johnson as OC, no way. cutler doesn't need someone to tuck him in at night, what he needs is somebody to get in his face and man up to him. he won't respect someone who doesn't.


It's good to hear all of these blogspace psychologist know what Cutler needs. It's so simple not rocket science. Give the man a coach with balls a line with some skill and a back that can get past the line of scrimmage and he will be just fine. The only problem is the administation he works for. Creighton had it called Lovie and Angelo want to show their football geniusness and prove everyone else was wrong and they are right.They draft and recruit players thinking they can change them[coach them up] they can't. This teams running game should ressemble the cutback offense of Denver their environment is worse than Chicago. The bigger route running recievers are better for Chicago weather [but that turf sucks] but this bunch kept DA on the bench in favor of speed Lovie this isn't a dome smurfs only spin their wheels in Soldier Field. Same on his small fast D-Line they get over-powered Indy runs a hybrid Tampa D they found out a big run stuffer/pocket collapser was what it needed and depends on their ends to generate a pass rush. That's why Harris is shot no protection and constant double-teams. But all this had been said before until they leave it won't change.

Does this all matter? I hope for losses so the whole Three Stooges crew gets canned! Lovie sucks and will bring in some Lee Harvey Oswald type patsie to ruin the show. Good Luck and GO PACKERS!!!

Yes the passing game always gets better under Martz, and its not like the Bears running game can get any worse. Bu tthings that also happen when Martz is a OC , turnovers go up, and the defense goes down. He has not had a winning season any place he has gone sense leaving the Rams. A Martz offense also does not always score a lot of points. Offensive rank in points scored for Martz are; in 00 he was 1st, 01 1st, 02 23rd, 03 2nd, 04 19th, 05 11th, 06 21st, 07 16th, 08 22nd.

Jamal Williams, Mike Heimerdinger doesn't really work with the players much he was the OC, he did a good job at and his staff was really good. But its the coaches who work with the players. Its just like school the Principal/Head Coach, Vice Principal/Coordinators, Teachers/Coahces. Thats how football works. But yes I would take Mike Heimerdinger over Martz any day. Question is why would he do a lateral move to Chicago with a Head coach whos future is up in the air? I would much rather live in Nashville than Chicago, everything costs less, the woman are much hotter, it has better weather, and is more scenic. You don't think the Bears would offer him a boat load of money. We are not Seattle, we don;t do what is best for the team here, we do what is best for Mike McCaskey's wallet.

I would be happy with Martz or Bates as QB coach. Don't know anything about Bates except that he's never been a coordinator (which would be another Bear move of hiring an inexperienced and unproven coach), but Martz would be a disaster. Charlie Weiss would have been way better than Martz.

Let's hire Shemp, Joe, and Curly Joe then we'd have the whole crew!

Lets see who endorses Bates and who has he worked with.
Gruden gives bates the thumbs up.
Fisher gives bates the thumbs up.
Shanahan gives Bates the thumbs up. By the way it was Bates who called the plays for the Broncos in 2008. They had a top 5 offense.
Heimerdinger gives Bates the thumbs up
Carroll gives Bates the thumbs up, despite what Lovies boy Haugh and Pompei and the Trib say. Starting a rumor that Carroll hates Bates. I guess thats why he wants him in Seattle cause he hates him.
Oh and Jay Cutlre who he worked with gives him the thumbs up.

Lets see who gives Martz the Thumbs up.
Lovie Smith gives him the thumbs up and we know what great taste in coaches he has.
Martz gives himself the thumbs up, and has no problem bashing Cutler and then saying he is the most talented QB he has ever seen. SO insults him and then says he is good. That sounds like Martz.

One little thing about the Martz offense you may want to consider, it features a "pocket passer"

Wouldn't it be funny if all competent O and D Coordinators who are available now ended up accepting positions with other teams? In other words, there was nobody around to come and work for the Bears? What would Angelo, Phillips and the McCheapsky's do then?

So if we trust him then we could have our own Vince Young, next year ?

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on January 8, 2010 9:15 AM.

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