Lovie Smith touched on several topics during Monday's conference call announcing the hiring of Mike Martz as offensive coordinator. Among them:
On the process that ended with Martz being hired:
"Everyone in the building has to be on board with anybody we bring into the building. We do the same thing when we're bringing in players. But Mike and all the rest of the
guys had a chance to come through, meet with ownership, meet with administration, some of the assistant coaches here, some of the players, and then I took in information from them to get some of their input. But in the end, that's why I'm the head football coach; get a chance to put all that together and then make these kinds of decisions.
I feel real good about Mike Martz being a part of our team. I think he'll bring energy. The guys will be excited about the Chicago Bears offense that we're going to have."
Will the offensive philosophy change?
"It will change a little bit. But the same type of approach we'll still take, and that's being hard-nosed, tough, being able to run the football, balancing it up with the pass and going from there."
He still needs a defensive coordinator. Will this be an in-house hire or will he hire someone from outside the organization?
"Keeping all options open right now." he said.
Clyde Christensen of the Colts and Terry Malone of the Saints were also candidates. Why not wait until after the Super Bowl to interview the Colts' and Saints' assistants?
"We went a long time as I saw it to wait for guys. ... We could have waited a little bit longer. But as you go through the process, once you feel comfortable that you've looked
and talked to enough people that you can make a good decision, you go with it. There are still some guys of course involved in the playoffs and there are some college guys that are out there too. But after we went through the process and Mike came through, I felt real good about him leading our group."
So, why did the process last so long?
"We said we would take our time. There's no hurry. There was no rush. We're not playing a football game tomorrow. We wanted to look at all available candidates out there. On some of them we had to wait. We had the playoffs going on. I wanted to talk to some of the guys in the playoffs. That's just how it's set up. You can't get impatient. Of course it's a big decision. Wanted to take our time. And still feel like we have time. There's nothing that we had to do, that we make a decision just right away now."
There was much criticism about Smith involving quarterback Jay Cutler in the process. Cutler met with several candidates. Martz even flew to Nashville, Tenn., to meet with Cutler on Saturday.
"There's a couple misconceptions out there too on just Jay Cutler meeting with the guys," Smith said. "A part of the interview process that I have in place is for guys to come in and meet with ownership, meet with administration, our assistant coaches here, and our players. Olin Kreutz had a chance to talk with Mike Tice as he came through. Greg Olsen talked with Rob Chudzinski when he came through. A part of the process is for all of the candidates coming through to meet with someone preferably at their position. Jay of course was involved quite a bit because most of the offensive coordinators that we talked to were also quarterback coaches. So that was a part of what I wanted to do and I thought it was productive to let them to that."
Smith disputed reports that he wanted Smith while Angelo wanted some other candidate.
"You've heard me say this plenty of times and I'm going to say it again: There's a big difference between perception and reality," Smith said. "That was not the case. Jerry and I, we're on the same page with every decision we've made around here. We discuss every major decision that goes on. We're both on board, whether it's a player coming in, a coach coming in. That is another thing that was coming out of here that was completely wrong."
Martz's system is said to be complex. Will the offense have mastered it by the season opener?
"We will be ready to go, to play football, to have our offense in place by the first game
like we go in mind with that each year. It's not so complicated where we can't do that. I think that's a misconception for people to think that."
The running game will continue to be emphasized despite Martz's pass-happy style, according to Smith.
"When I say get off the bus running the football, I mean that is a mindset. The run will always be a part of what we're going to do. I mean, in Chicago, we play in the elements. That won't change. But there's nothing wrong with being able to run the football well and having balance to be able to pass the football. That's what I'm excited about.
"What Mike will bring to the table of course in the run but of course the pass too. I am excited too. It's not just Mike that's coming in, it's Mike Tice and what he will bring to the table. We're looking for balance to be able to run and pass the ball."