Chicago Sun-Times

In His Own Words: Martz

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The advantage of blogging is there are no space restrictions. Here are Mike Martz's answers to some of the more pertinent questions asked Monday.

I'll add entries from coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo later in the day.

Martz on his offensive philosophy:

"I am very pragmatic in the approach. I think you have to analyze your
personnel, the circumstances and the situation like Soldier Field and
look at what you have and the conditions and then go from there.
Detroit was different just because we were in situations often times
where we were obliged to throw it and that's not fun. It's just the way
it was. You tried to take advantage of the talent that you had in St.
Louis. Marshall [Faulk] led the league in yards per rush. I think in
'01 we had more rushing touchdowns than anybody in the league. So we
were always a top 10 rushing team, those first three years
particularly, and ran it very effectively. But really it's just about
winning games and doing whatever it takes to take advantage of your
strengths."

On the Bears' receiving corps:

"Boy they've got some speed. And that really is kind of a diamond to me.
When you look at that group, they can be a real strength of this
football team. With Aromashodu and Knox is really a diamond to me, and
Hester, what he can do whether he's outside or in the slot, the
matchups on these guys are extreme. When I went to St. Louis from
Washington, Isaac Bruce was too skinny. They weren't real happy with
him. He was always hurt. They drafted this little guy, Oz Hakeem, and
they didn't know what they were going to do with him. And Ricky Proehl
was a slow white guy. That's three-quarters of the Greatest Show on
Turf. And really what we'll do with these guys. I think there's plenty
of talent there. I'm real excited about their speed and the potential,
and what we'll do is give them every opportunity to explore that and
not make a definition on what any one of those guys can do but let them
prove to us and put no limits on them."

Martz was asked if he had the players he needed up front:

"Yes, especially with Chris Williams going over to left tackle, I think
the biggest issue here is Mike Tice and what I know of him as a coach
and being able to visit with him, I think this is just a terrific hire
and a major reason that I was very interested in this job. This guy
will get this group squared away and going good. It's a tough physical
group and they'll attentive to all the little details. This will be a
really well-coached group and he'll get everything that they've got to
give and I think there's plenty of talent to get it done."

Forte reminds Martz of Marshall Faulk:

"There are so many things you can do. He has the same kinds of abilities
as Marshall. He has the soft hands, the change of direction in pass
routes, good route runner, he's a very unselfish pass blocker, so he's
willing to stick his nose in there. We know what he has done as a
rusher. He's the complete package. We'll formation him and get him
matched up inside on backers and occasional safeties will be part of
what we do."

So, what did Martz learn while meeting with Cutler?

"This guy's all about winning now. He's frustrated that he's
not at an elite level and he can't contribute to helping that football
team win. So there's so many things that came out of that about Jay
that were exciting for me just on how he is and to kind of discuss what
he's about was very encouraging."

Here's Martz with a somewhat long-winded reply to question about how tight ends fit into his scheme:

"I think really just like all the positions, you take a look at what you
have at tight end and who that guy is and what they can do and then you
go from there. In the past, we've always had these big physical tight
ends, who really we tried to utilize in the running game and as pass
blockers and then as wide receivers.

"Greg is different; this is more of back in the Ernie Zampese era with Kellen Winslows and those guys that
the Chargers moved around and used him as a blocker. But when you can
get a defense that with normal personnel with Greg in the game and then
move like you would a receiver in the slot and get him matched up on
linebackers and safeties, it's going to be a mismatch.

"Then there is his ability to still stand in there and slug it out. He's a complete player
 from every respect at that position, which is multi-dimensional, which
is a little bit like Ernie Conwell, but he's a little bit more fluid than Ernie Conwell was. Ernie was very physical player and had speed,
those kinds of things. Greg has such great body control and is a fluid
route-runner, there are so many things that he can do, which is
something I've not experienced yet."

Will the Bears still come off the bus running the ball or will Cutler be firing passes out the windows?

"It depends on who you're playing," Martz said. "The physical part of it I think is
really what Lovie is addressing. I think that's first and foremost.
Everything starts in the offensive line, everything. They allow you to
keep your defense off the field, allow you to protect the quarterback,
allows you to do what you want to do on offense. I think when that's
established, which will get done, then I think more than anything else,
you get off the bus and really you are getting in a position to hit
them right in the mouth. 

"That's one of the things with Mike Tice, that
toughness and tenacity and run the ball and pound it in there and still
have a chance to fake that, show that ball, pull it up and then Knox or
somebody throw streaking to the end zone. The mix and match between
that, you do whatever it takes to win. Some weeks you're going to run
it pretty good. The next week you're going to throw pretty good. But
it's about winning, whatever you can do the best, that's what you do."

Here's Martz on his criticism of Cutler while serving as an analyst for the NFL Network.

"The thing I told Jay and I said this a few days after that show, the thing I felt bad when I
watched that was I felt like I knew what Jay was. I met him when he was
coming out in the draft for quite some time up in Detroit. I felt like
I had a pretty good understanding of who he was and the integrity and
the dignity that he has and how classy a guy he is, and how he kind of
misrepresented himself with that and really that was totally out of
frustration for that game.

"He's going to be one of the elite players in this league for a long time and those are things that he's just going
to have to deal with. That was a very difficult situation for him, very
difficult, but a great experience for him to go through it and know now
you've just got to kind of take that deep breath before you go in
there. As a former head coach, you go through those things and collect
yourself a little bit and then go in there."

Finally, on his relationship with Bears' defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. There have been reports of friction between the two when Marinelli was the Lions head coach and Martz was his offensive coordinator.

"I went to Detroit after I met Rod Marinelli, that's the only reason I went to Detroit. When I left Detroit, it had
nothing to do with Rod, there were other factors involved there, but
nothing associated with Rod or disharmony. I had a real good visit with
him when I was back there; I spent the morning with him, had breakfast
and laughed about some things. He and Lovie have been good friends and
there's just no issue there, it just doesn't exist."

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5 Comments

Wow, this is gonna be tricky, if I give an opinion that goes AGAINST the team, I'm a meathead, but, if I say something that is FOR the team, I'm a fanboy. That tells me one thing, you can't make everyone happy unless you 100% agree with their opinion.....oh well! Now, here is Kevin Armstead's fanboy/meathead comment to Neil Hayes blog on the Mike Martz hiring.

I'm not big on the hiring of Mike Martz, yes, he ran the greatest show on turf, but, he had a couple future hall of famers running it in Warner, Faulk, Bruce, and Holt. Also, Martz's has been fired from the last two offensive coordinator gigs he's had in Detroit & San Francisco, probably because of a lack of talent on both squads. Also, Martz is pass-happy, he needs to run the ball a little more than in the past now that he is here in the windy city. Thats basically the meathead portion of my response. Heres the fanboy part.

I'm a Bear fan, no I don't agree with the hiring of Martz, but thats my opinion, it doesn't mean Martz won't work out, he very well could. I hope he does and will support him now that he is calling plays for my favorite team the Chicago Bears. I really liked what Martz said early, especially when asked about his offensive philosophy. Martz said, "I am very pragmatic in the approach, I think you have to analyze your personnel, the circumstances and the situation." Basically what he's saying is he's gonna take the strengths of his offensive unit and try and get the most out of them, and thats what good coaches do. Also, when Martz said "Its about winning games and doing whatever it takes to take advantage of your strengths" also backs up the fact Martz will adapt his offense to take advantage of Chicago's strengths. I'm all for giving Martz a chance even though I don't like the hire, again, he could surprise GO BEARS!!

Now for something off-subject, this is gonna be a long comment for randy, if others don't like it, simply hit you page down button on your computer and go to the next comment. Now randy, on an earlier blog from february 1st, you said, "no one can blame Lovie for no ProBowler as even the wrong schemes etc.. would not hide a great proBowl player at a position.i.e. If we had a ProBowl guard then the scheme/play calls would not hide his talents, which means Angelo is to blame for the lack of talent."

"Had to throw that in Kevin, as if you look at it that way, then how in the world is Jerry a good player producer?"

randy, your asking me why I think Jerry Angelo is a good player producer. First off, I like Angelo, you don't, but thats cool, we're all entitled to our own opinion right? I'll tell you why I like Bears GM Jerry Angelo. First, you must understand the term player development, not all the young players Angelo brings in are gonna be pro-bowlers right off the bat, it takes time for a lot of prospects to develop. And randy, you can't seriously or realistically expect Angelo to draft/hit on every single one of his draft picks...do you? Also randy, you must realize the average NFL player only has a shelf life of 5-7 years. That means your probably only gonna get 5-7 decent seasons from an NFL player. So, most of Angelo's players from 8-9 seasons back aren't gonna do the team any good right now. Thats why you'll hear a lot of analyst say so and so's team has gone through their window to win a super bowl. Basically teams go through cycles. When Angelo came here he built a team that went to a Super Bowl, he spent most of the draft on defense, and used free agency to build his offense, especially his o-line. It worked for awhile, you can't argue with the success this team had earlier in Angelo regime. Now, the Bears have gone through their window, basically their rebuilding. randy, give this team time. The talent is there thanks to Angelo. Yes, the Bears only had 2 pro bowlers this year (Knox/Briggs), but injury killed a couple other players (Urlacher, Kruetz, Harris, and Forte) that potentially could have been pro bowlers themselves if they would have been 100% healthy. And randy, a players health is not the fault of the GM. Also randy, the draft is not the only tool a GM has to build a team, theres free agency and trades. Angelo used free agency to build a pretty good line during the super bowl run with players like Ruben Brown, John Tait, and even Roberto Garza has been solid during his time in Chicago. Angelo traded for Adewale Ogunleye who helped the Bears go to a Super Bowl and win a couple division titles. Most recently the Jay Cutler trade. Jerry Angelo might have given the Chicago Bears their first pro bowl QB in a long long time, their first franchise QB. Agree or disagree, but Jerry Angelo is the reason Chicago has a franchise QB. Jerry Angelo fixed Chicago's QB problem, you can't argue with that. As for the line, you brought up guards, this line has some young up and coming talent in tackle Chris Williams, who looks to be potentially a pretty good left tackle. Give some of the younger linemen like guard Lance Louis, tackle James Marten, and G/C Josh Beekman a chance, remember player development randy, again, you can't expect every player to be an all-pro right out of college, it takes time. Allow Angelo's young prospects some time to develop before saying their bust and Angelo's the problem or reason theres no talent in Chicago. Just because Lance Louis and James Marten didn't contribute this season doesn't mean they never will or are bust, again, give em time. If Angelo can bring in some more young prospects on the line this april, then the Bears are on their way up front. Also randy, a couple seasons back the receivers and tight ends were a problem area for the Bears, thanks to a couple Angelo drafts, 2006 Devin Hester, 2007 Greg Olsen, 2008 Earl Bennett and Kellen Davis, 2008 free agency Devin Aromashodu, and 2009 Johnny Knox and Juaquin Iglesias. This team now looks to have a very good young core at the tight end and wide receiver positions, again, thanks to Angelo. Bottom line randy is this, before Angelo this team was awful, after Angelo they have been to a super bowl, won a couple dividion titles, and look to finally have a franchise QB. Also randy, the team now has an up and coming left tackle in Chris Williams, which has been a long time problem area for the team, a good set of tight ends/receivers, and a very good running back in Matt Forte who played hurt for most of the season. I think Forte is still gonna be a good runner for Chicago. And I bet a lot of other teams/GM's would love to have Forte on their team. randy, this team has potential all thanks to Jerry Angelo, I like their young core of players, give em time GO BEARS!!

I am with Kevin here that I really do not like the hiring of Martz, but being a huge Bears fan I will support and hope it all works out.

GO BEARS! The Greatest Show on Soldier Field..............

Kevin quit the Angelo stuff you have no support for the argument, his draft record speaks for itself. You just claimed the recievers are a strength of this team. You even suggested Iglesias was. You claimed Williams was an up and comming tackle, he had one of the worst seasons of all tackles in the NFL. ngelo is considered on of the worst GM's in football. Thats not my opinion, thats a fact. You said Give Beekman a chance? He started in 2008, they didn't like him, so they got someone else, then they tried him again twice this year and he got benched twice. Let me remind you that you claimed Hiestand was one of the best line coaches in football. You said it often. So you have your player development right their according to you. Claiming Kellen Davis is a strength? How?

By the way their is a common rule in the nfl, you don't build a offensive line through FA. If you do then it will only last a few years and be real expensive. You build it through the draft, even you have said this. I will also remind you of all the times you claimed that Angelo needed to rebuild the offensive line through the draft and you complained about him not drafting offensive linemen. Angelo has been here for the better part of a decade and you can only list like 6 guys that have done well.

Let me also explain a little thing about the NFL that you have suddenly forgot for the sake of your argument. The Nfl is not about developing talent over a six year period just to get an average starter. Its about drafting the best players and having them make an impact early and often. Angelo is missing an entire draft class, and has only starters on the team from three draft classes. You claim that is good? Name a young guy on the team you don't like.

On to Martz, and yes Kevin I agree with you on it being a mistake but that is pretty well known at this point.

I just want to point out that Martz said the Rams where not happy with Bruce when he got their. Bruce who in his first 4 seasons averaged over 1000 yards a season, and 7 TD's and had a pro bowl selection. He was a second round pick and they were not happy with that. Yeah right. His best single season was in 1995, he didn't even get a pro bowl selection for it but he still put up almost 1800 yards and 13 tds. Oh yeah I could see how the Rams hated that.

Martz has a brilliant system he got from Al Saunders, but I say it again he doesn't have the talent. "No QB is going to be a great QB if he doesn't have a great supporting cast" Dick Vermiel.

He doesn't have the talent for an elite offense, not to mention how is he going o help the defense. Martz was working with Al Saunders in 1999, one of the better offensive minds in the nfl and a guy who worked really well with Martz. It was Saunders who was the Air Coryell master, who learned the offense directly from Coryell and had his 700 page playbook that Martz now uses.

Saunders never got the credit he deserved with the Rams I will point out 2002-2005 when Saunders the OC of the Chiefs had the number 1 ranked offense in the NFL for three years in a row.

As for Cutler and Martz. Al Saunders runs the same system as Martz, when Saunders was made the OC of the Skins in 2006 most felt it was a mistake to pair his system with Mark Brunell a WCO QB.

"The Al Saunders offense, an Air Coryell offense, requires a quarterback with a very accurate sense of timing and trust with the receiver"

Kurt Warner spoke about this reguarding Cutler and how he didn't see it with Jay.

The Al Saunders play book is about 700 pages. Mike Martz had his best 2 offensive years working with Saunders. The offense scoring 526 points in 99 and 540 in 2000. In 2002 the number dropped to 316, 447 in 03, 319 in 04 and 363 in 05. At the same time in KC the offense scored 446 points in 2002, 484 in 03, 483 in 04, and 403 in 05. The intresting thing to note is that the running game left with Saunders and Vermiel. While the Rams rushing attack fell apart after he left, the KC rushing attack thrived. He also produced those nice offensive numbers with Kennison as their number 1. He currently works with the Ravens offense as an advisor.

My guess is that neither Saunders or Martz are as good of offensive coordinators without the other. Because they compliment eachother so well. I also think if you combine those two with Vermiel who as a head coach he helps to balance the offense. Both Trent Greene in KC with Saunders and Bulger in STL with Martz thrived under this system. Pointing ot the fact that the system helps produce big numbers for pocket passers. The system failed in San Fran where it ran into WCO style QB's, and Washington. Kitna was also a pocket passer.

Creighton,

Williams stunk at right tackle, but played well at left. He shut down Jared Allen, albeit with help sometimes. I might just be clinging to a ray of false hope -- what else do we have at this point? -- but based on the last games at left tackle, Williams didn't play badly at all, in fact he played very well.

That said, I totally agree with you about Angelo. I wish the Bears had gotten rid of him and gotten Scott Pioli, who went to Kansas City. I don't know why New England let him go, but it was a big mistake.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on February 2, 2010 8:59 AM.

Warner didn't want to "hang on too long" was the previous entry in this blog.

Urlacher, Kreutz, Hester Named to All-Decade Team is the next entry in this blog.

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