Chicago Sun-Times

In His Own Words: Angelo

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Here is the best of general manager Jerry Angelo from Monday's conference call.

Angelo was first asked if hiring Martz means the offensive philosophy will change:

"It's a change. We know that. We'll wait and see what Mike does. Obviously, we know what Mike's reputation is. He likes to throw the football. He's very aggressive in play calling. He runs an attacking offense. We wanted to make change. We wanted to be something different than what we were and we just felt after going through the process that Mike really presented what we considered the best plan for us."

Will you have to change the roster to accommodate the type of players who excel in Martz's offense?

"No. We talked about that. Our roster is pretty well set. We don't have the first two picks in the draft. Free agency, potentially will be very limited. It's not like we won't look for players like we do every year but we're not going into this thinking we have to have an overhaul with our offense.

"I spoke with Mike and went over the roster as did Lovie and gave him my perception of our roster and I feel it's applicable with his philosophy. There's going to be some adjustments. There are going to be some nuances. Some things aren't going to work exactly the way he would like the in beginning but that's part of the adjustment coaches make and sometimes players.

"So, I feel like [he has] the nucleus of what he needs to make his offense work. It was very clear to me that he felt very comfortable with our offensive personnel."

The perception has been that Martz was Lovie's guy and Angelo was less than thrilled with the decision, which Angelo denied:

"with all the candidates, my thinking might be a little different than Lovie's in that I'm looking at it in some ways a little different than he's looking at it but we talked through that. I went to Lovie and we talked a lot about what we're looking for, the best fit, and there's a lot that goes into it. But absolutely not. The more we talked about it the more we worked through it and used the same process for every candidate.
"I was 100 percent on board with Lovie's decision and for the right reasons. We said we wanted to make change. Mike Martz brings a change in our offensive style. It brings a change for everybody, for our coaching staff and those who were here, it will be a change for our players and it will be a change for us [in] personnel. But it will be a positive change. He comes in with a very good track record and a wealth of experience and we're real excited about the prospects."

Angelo said he understood why Perry Fewell became the Giants' defensive coordinator instead of accepting the same position with the Bears:

" understood where perry was coming from. Perry has ambitions to be a head coach and my take was he felt with an offensive head coach maybe he was in a better position to create a better path professionally for himself because he made it very clear that he wanted to be a head coach. He even asked me what I thought would be his best path to be a head coach in the league. I gave him my thoughts but I could see he was very driven by that so I understood why he did what he did."

Why did the process last so long? If Martz was the guy, why not interview him first?

"Lovie's relationship with Mike was obvious. Everybody knew that, so we decided why not explore people we've heard about and done research on and like and want to know? We didn't want to slant the field to anybody. By bringing Mike in, maybe that perception would've been out there. So we brought in all the candidates we were able to talk to. No everybody we wanted to talk to we were able to talk to and we felt once we exhausted that we would bring Mike in. At the end, as I said, we were impressed with mike in the day and a half he was here. We all had that feel-good [feeling]. We talked about it this morning for a few hours on the direction we wanted to go into. We even talked about bringing somebody else in but we felt like we were all comfortable. There's no guarantee with anybody, but we didn't want to continue to spin our wheels either."

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Now that we are stuck with Martz what about hiring Warner for Quarterback coach?

OK, I for one am not going to waste time trying to figure out what Angelo really means. That makes my head hurt. Let's assume he means what he says?

He says they went to Martz because they wanted a change. That's a good answer. Otherwise they fired Ron Turner because the Bears had a lousy season and somebody had to go. Martz is not the same-o, same-o WCO type coordinator that would just pick up where Turner left off. He is definately a change.

More than that Martz is a change in phylosophy. To state the obvious, football games are won by having more points than your opponent at the end of the game. We often think of Lovie Smith as having a one track, Tampa 2 or bust, mind, but it's not really true. Really he has been involved in two types of professional teams. The old Tampa Bucs and the '06 Bears are one type. Their makeup said, if the other team doesn't score, we will win even with a meager offense. The old Vermeil Rams (similar to the Colts) were another. They said, if we score a lot and have an opportunistic defense, the other team can't keep up.

Hiring Martz tells me that Smith/Angelo don't think they can field a team with a dominant defense. Therefore to win, they better score more points. That's good, because they essentially made that decision when they traded their ability to build a dominant defense for Jay Cutler.

They all say that Martz can take their current roster, make a few tweaks, and score more points on a consistent basis. If they do that, the defense will be able to play to it's strengths instead of playing from behind all the time. It makes sense and it could happen.

The thing I like best about Martz is he makes the opposing defense defend the whole field on every play. On third and seven he doesn't automatically try to gain 8 yards (or 6 like Turner). He might try to throw a 24 yard in route. Bill Walsh once said that the game is about "deception". Ron Turner thinks a FB dive on 4th and 1 is deception. Martz would be more likely to call a flea flicker.
* * * The one thing I'm going to ask everyone-- is to understand that throwing a 40 yard pick on 3rd and long is like a punt to Martz. You can always run a 4 yard draw and then punt but you will never hit the big play doing this. If you throw it down the field it might get picked some of the time but you will also get some first downs some of the time, some TD's a few times, or even get pass interference penalty calls some of the time. He's willing to accept the consequences of a few picks in this situation knowing he's going to get some other results too and won't always have to punt. We should be willing to accept it too. Don't let the writers tell you he's an idiot when the QB throws a couple meaningless picks instead of punting anyway and the Bears win the game.

MSBearsfan's comments represent a pretty solid analysis.I agree with them in total. The other comment about hiring Warner as quarterback coach is unrealistic and won't happen, but yes, it would be nice. I can't see anyone better for that job unless it would be Peyton Manning, and obviously that is not going to happen either. This could be a great year for Bear fans, but there is absolutely no doubt that it will be an extremely interesting one.

Where the heck is Jim McMahan. I know he doesn't like football anymore, and I know that my jones for the 85 bears is stale, but just imagine. Wouldn't he have been the perfect QB coach for Cutler. He would teach him to read the heck out of a defense, how to really use his feet, and he was a gunslinger that had no fear, and could shoot with the best of them. He would have a field day with Martz's offense. The record books would have to make new pages for Cutler, no matter who the receivers were. F A R - V - R E who?

I have to say that I'm very happy about this move, if not a little surprised. It's gotten to the point where I expect them to do anything BUT the right thing any more, and that should tell you everything you need to know about the level of faith that I and probably most Bears fans have in Jerry and Lovie at this point in time.

Martz has been a regular on the NFL Network during the last year, and if you've seen him on there a few times you can't help but be impressed with his understanding of the game, football IQ and overall intelligence. He talked about how he pushed Kurt Warner constantly to get better and he even realized that he may have pushed him too hard at times, so he's definitely not the megalomaniac that he's been painted to be in the media and by the GM of the Rams during his tenure.

Even though the outlook for the coming season appears bleak, with current level of talent, scarcity of draft picks this year and sub-par free agent market (not that the Bears would ever spend that kind of money anyway, of course), I have to admit this move has rejuvenated my enthusiasm to the point where it makes the mess that IS the Chicago Bears a little more palatable. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and how well Cutler buys into Martz's philosophy and if Martz can get into Cutler's head and cut down on the picks. I guess we'll see...

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on February 2, 2010 10:59 AM.

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