After a decade of calling plays from the sideline, Mike Martz has returned to the coaches' booth for reasons that have as much to do with mobility as strategy.
The Bears offensive coordinator has had back-and-hip problems through the years, making it difficult for him to get down to the locker room and back up to the coaches' booth at halftime. After successful hip-replacement surgery, he's feeling spry enough to climb his perch above the field.
Many coordinators prefer to be in the coaches' booth because the sight lines make it easier to see the defense. Not Martz.
"You just get a better feel for the game on the sideline," he said. "Believe it or not, you can see better from the sideline that you can from the booth. I can. You watch specific things from the sideline. From the booth, you have a tendency to see the whole thing and not exactly what you're looking at. It's a discipline you have to go back and acquire again."
Martz said his trust in his fellow coaches is the biggest reason why he moved upstairs before last week's 32-17 exhibition loss to the Raiders. Mike Tice and tight ends coach Mike DeBord will be among those communicating with players, making sure the right personnel group is on the field, and helping to manage the game.
"There's such strong personalities down there, and Jay has such a good grasp of what's going on with us on offense and with the receivers," he said. "Mike Tice, those guys on the sideline, they address it and it's fixed right away. I just don't feel like I need to be there. We've got the leadership you'd want down there without me being there.
"Besides, it's a lot more comfortable up there."