Chicago Sun-Times

Bears deny Titans permission to interview Mike Tice

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The Bears on Monday denied the Tennessee Titans formal request seeking permission to speak to Mike Tice about their offensive coordinator vacancy, according to a source close to the situation.

But there were questions about how serious new Titans coach Mike Munchak was about Tice as his coordinator.

After the ouster of longtime coach Jeff Fisher, Munchak is now left scrambling to fill his coaching staff as teams are preparing for the NFL Combine. Munchak sent out several requests, knowing that many of them would be denied. Last week, the New York Jets denied the Titans permission to speak to assistant head coach/ offensive line coach Bill Callahan.

Tice, the Bears offensive line coach, is under contract through the 2011 season.

Tice will be leaned on heavily to provide insight on incoming rookies and to help the Bears upgrade the talent on his offensive line. A former NFL tight end, Tice has distinguished himself in identifying and developing offensive linemen, most notably with the Minnesota Vikings. His greatest find was Matt Birk, a sixth-round pick out of Harvard who developed into a six-time Pro Bowl center. Tice had to convince then Vikings coach Dennis Green to keep Birk on the 53-man roster during the 1998 season, to ensure he wasn't plucked away by another team.

Professionally, the move might have been a good one for Tice. He's never been an offensive coordinator. Personally, though, Tice is close to his son Nate, who is quarterback at the University of Wisconsin, and his daughter Adrienne, who lives in the Twin Cities.

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15 Comments

Wow that is a surprise, it's also looked down upon by most in the league. Denying your assistants a chance to advance their careers.

This says more about Martz than it does about Tice. They don't tryst Martz and Tice is has a more traditional approach to offense than Martz. On offense it was Tice who stood out far more than Martz who most percieved as a pass happy nut who could care less if he gets his QB killed as long as he can call 7 step after 7 step.

The question is how do you keep Tice happy? He would have fit in well with the Titans, the Bears have given him little to work with. He can't be named a assistant Head Coach cause Marinelli already has that title. So according to the Bears he did a great job for them but now they will block him from advancing his career because they hired a nut job who they won;t fire cause he is Lovie's boy.

Even they focus on the O-Line in the draft who is to say those guys will be ready in their first year. Matt Birk didn't start a game his first 2 years. Webb should have been brought along in the same manner but the Bears had no choice but to play him.

I wonder how Tice feels about this and what the Bears will do to make him happy. It would be nice to see Tice add more of his power run game to the Bears offense.

This is going to prove interesting if the Bears haven't promised Tice something. Who knows, maybe the talk of Martz moving on has prompted the Bears to make Tice the OC in waiting. I don't see Martz being there much more than 1-2 more years anyway whether or not he gets a HC offer.

I said pretty much the same thing about new guys on the OL a few weeks ago. This labor situation is going to affect the Bears dramatically. Even though you can't "pad up" in the OTA's and mini camps, you can run plays, get your timing down, work on recognizing the voice and cadence of your QB, and work on line calls. If the Bears do draft 1 or 2 new linemen and the CBA isn't signed until late June/early July, then it is going to stunt some of the development of the new guys. Failing time and time again over the past 4-5 years in the draft, is really going to hurt the Bears this offseason. This would be a nice time to have 1 or 2 guys in the fold who were/are on the brink of busting out.

If the Bears move Webb to the left side, they might as well have a coroner's wagon on site for Cutler. Webb may turn into a decent "road grading" type RT, but he's too slow and cumbersome to be anything but a below average LT.

I think the denial to interview has more to do with preparing for the combine, than insecurities about Mike Martz. Personally, I'd like to see the the progress of continuity with our coaching staff. It is difficult to keep a coaching staff together longer than one season.

@ Creighton "Wow that is a surprise, it's also looked down upon by most in the league."
No, it's not. It's not surprising at all, and it's done all the time around the league. We tried to interview Green Bay's QB coach last year for our OC spot, and they blocked it. Teams do this on a regular basis.
It also would not have likely been a good fit for Tice, and I doubt he would have been given an offer. That would give the Titans a head coach with no OC experience and an OC with no prior OC experience to lead a team with Kerry Collins as their QB. I don't see that being a big career booster for Tice.

@Creighton and @JerBear50

I think you both have some good points here. Even with Chicago's patchwork offensive line, I stil think they have a lot more to offer Tice than Tennesse does.

Tennesse is a train wreck right now. I have been following the Jeff Fisher situaiton and - wow - IMO, Bud Adams is a crazy person and Tennesse is approaching Washington Redskins terrirtory with regards to stability.

The Titans are scrambling to put a coaching staff together and probably secretly praying that a CBA doesn't get done soon so they have time to get their house in order.

The Bears are really doing Tice a favor because it's very unlikely that offense is going to light up anybody in the AFC South. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bears are intentionally playing the "bad guy" as a favor to Tice so as not to damage his future prospects.

My .02

Hey this is about when, not if. Had they asked a month ago it might be a different answer. Besides Tice is pretty much a known as a coach around the league. I don't think his career goal is to be a coordinator.

This off-season might be the most important for the Bears in a good while. I think they have a window of opportunity to make a Super Bowl run if they can put an o-line together and plug a few other talent holes. If they can get their line without cashing in high draft choices, it is a really big deal.

Tice has proven he can find and develop good linemen in the later rounds. I can't imagine anything more important to the Bears right now. Therefore I can't imagine them just letting Tice go while they are basically packing up to go to the scouting combine.

Actually it is looked down upon around the league and Lovie himself usually does not practice this and stated such. Usually if it's within your division it's ok but outside your division is a different story. But then again I don't think Lovie is the guy who blocked this.

Kyle Vanden Bosch would be a great addition to the Bears offensive line. He is 32 and only played in 11 games last year, but was still better than Julius Peppers.

He's so great, he could totally make the transition.

I have a great body. I don't play Madden.

Ms, so you don't want the Bears to draft linemen high because Tice developed Matt Birk. Not going to take Matt Birk away from the guy but can you name all the other offensive linmen he has developed that came from late round picks.

Don't say Webb, just don't. He was pretty much aweful this year and got killed most of the time even against bad competition. You have to wait until he actually develops to say he is developed.

So instead of investing in the line with high picks and making it a focal point to develop you want them to use later picks? Isn't that how the Bears got in this mess to begin with?

Train wreck is the only thing I can say about the Bears line.

A short list of Tice players he developed or worked with.

When Tice first took over the Vikings line he had a veteran line with 3 Pro Bowlers on it, 3 first round picks on it, one 4th round pick and one 9th round pick. Take a guess who was the worst guy on that line. All had been full time starters before Tice and 4 of them were considered good to HOF calibur and one guy was considered average. This was the line that Tice got credit for, he had little to do with making them a good line.

By the time this line started to break up Tice was no longer the offensive line coach.

Then you have you have Birk.

He brought in Veteran Corbin Lacina to replace McDanial, a guy who spent about 5 years in Buffalo and he didn't really do anything with the Vikes.

Everett Lindsay was a 5th round pick Tice tried to develop. But that didn't workout.

Chris Liwienski was a 7th round pick Tice tried to develop but again not with great results.

He was the head coach when the Vikings drafted Bryant McKinnie 7th overall. He is an ok tackle nothing special. No way was he worth a top 10 pick. Webb reminds me of him a little bit with his frame. Though McKinnie was and is a better pass blocker but that's not saying much cause McKinnie is a lousy pass protector. However it was a really bad year for offensive linmen and McKinnie was probably the best tackle of that class. To bad he couldn't develop Liwienski the late round draft pick. Instead he had to draft a first rounder to try and upgrade the tackle position. Seems Tice sees some value in first round linemen for some reason.

You also had Lewis Kelly a 7th round pick but again that didn't workout for the Vikings or Tice.

He brought in 5th round pick Mike Rosenthal but again that didn't pan out.

Nat Dorsey was a 4th round pick but got cut after 1 year.

Adam Goldberg, a undrafted FA, guess what? Didn't workout either.

Marcus Johnson a 2nd round pick did not work out and was out of the league pretty quickly.

Anthony Herrera still on the Vikings and the only guy in the league Tommie Harris can still beat. Vikings are looking to upgrade.

So basically Tice can claim he developed Matt Birk and that is about it. Everyone else well not so much.

Now does this say Tice has a bad eye for talent? I don't know. But outside of Matt Birk I can't really say he developed anyone significant, in fact I see a lot of bad players.

Now I don't know who drafted those guys or if Tice had say in the matter, Or even how much he worked with any of them. But I know that outside of Birk nobody really stands out. As for low round picks the only guy is Birk. Not sure how he got a rep for developing low round picks since all he developed was Birk, who would be one guy not multiple guys.

I am more of the mind that when it comes to any coach they can teach players to a point and then it is up to the players. However a coach can't teach talent, you either have it or you don't, I tend to like the more gifted guys who you tend to see higher up in the draft rather than the lesser skilled and not as athletic counter parts you see in the lower end of the draft. Sure you find a dimond in the ruff every now and then but it's still better up top.

This is just the history of what he worked with and who he was around. People in Chicago really seem high on Webb and that's fine but what did he do for Chris Williams, Lance Louis, and Frank Omiyale?

Nothing against Tice I am just pointing these things out.

Hey Creighon,

You're right about Webb not playing well, but I wouldn't say he was "awful." He was inconsistent at times, but serviceable, and probably wouldn't crack the starting lineup on most teams.

That said, Tice took a late round guy with pretty much zero pro skills and made him into a serviceable linemen. So I do give Tice some credit, but not "Matt Birk-caliber" credit. As you pointed out.

Also, as you're analyzing his percentages of developing late-rounders, you have to remember that there are MANY coaches who are unable to help players and improve at all. I think any coach that could develop 1-2 decent linemen out of 10-11 picks in rounds 5-7 are pretty good coaches.

The REAL problem with the Bears offensive line, as you've pointed out countless times on this blog, starts at the GM's office. It is a grossly neglected position and has been for the past 5-6 years. I have been luke-warm okay with Angelo, but will totally jump on your bandwagon for him to be fired if the offensive line isn't sured up this year.

We shouldn't have to discuss Tice's ability to develop 7th rounders, rather, which 1st or 2nd rounders, or possibly free agent OT he's going to work with next season.

I am not blaming Tice for the linemen, or the development of guys. Like I said he did a good job with Birk. But the points I was making is that it's not easy for Tice or anyone else for that matter to develop guys who lack talent. Ms was talking about waiting till the late rounds to grab linmen because Tice developes late rounders.

I would much rather have those high end high talent guys at the top of the draft for him to work with, than trying to make him coach up a bunch of late round guys with less talent into the next Matt Birk. Because no matter who you are it just doesn't happen that often. Matt Birk was always talented, he was just out of position and not in a great Football school. But he was big, smart and strong.

As for Webb he was either dead last or next to last in Pass blocking in the NFL. And that is in a bad year for linemen in general. Offensive lines did not have a good year this year and the Bears were dead last and a big reason for that was Webb. His run blocking went from really bad to mediocre at times, but he almost always had help.

It's not to say Webb doesn't have talent or ability. What he lacks is skill and from what I have seen, lateral movment. His feet are a little slow as well but he uses his long arms to help balance that out. He also needs to get stronger. I feel like he is not a RT, but a run blocking LT on a running team. His pass blocking is not good, not good in anyway.

I am not going to grade Webb on his potential, offensive line is one area were playing nasty and mean can really help a guy. I think he is a little limited physically, he is not a great athlete for the position, but more of a decent athlete at the position. He lacks skill which can be taught, but he is not the smartest kid. Not trying to be mean but he had his problems in school. I think if he is coached up and maxes out he will be consistantly mediocre and one demensional. There are lots of guys like that in the nfl starting for teams. Maybe they move him inside, but i don't know how he will play in a box.

Anyway this is just about me reallty wanting the Bears to fix their O-Line and to not do it half ##### which is how they have been doing it for years. It's not like I want them to reach for a guy in the first round, I want them to draft good linmen period. If it is a guy in the second round I am fine with that as long as he is good.

I have been reading recent reports that say the Bears are commited to fixng the line but don't plan to spend big money in free agency and are looking at drafting one guy maybe 2. This worries me because I know one of those guys will be a 7th rounder. Which means they are going to try and fix the line the same way they did in 2008. Draft 1 guy high and hope he fixes all their problems while leaving stop gaps at every other position.

I have the Bears taking a Corner in my mock draft in the first round. Mostly because the linmen have been picked over and their is no value for them. I have Brandon Harris, Aaron Williams, and Curtis Brown all on the board.

Will Angelo go after an interior linemen in the first round? I find that hard to swallow and he has missed a couple of really good players because of this philosophy.

My guess is he is hoping someone trades up from the top of the second round so he can have two second round picks. If that happens I can see him drafting Curtis Brown who will be their and then maybe Joseph Barksdale with the late second round pick if he is there which would be a stretch to believe he will be. Stefen Wisniewski could also be the guy.

It's a tough call given the Bears draft position. Let me put it to you this way.

We know they like Webb so they are not looking to replace him.
Chris Williams will be given another chance so he is not getting a replacment.
Olin will probably be brought back because he is the leader and only guy who has a clue as to what is going on. So you probably won;t spend a high pick on a backup center.
Garza, could be one of the guys replaced, maybe but not much is being said about it and maybe they want Louis to have another shot at the job.
That leaves Frank Omiyale, who really should be replaced. However Williams may get another shot at the LT spot which means tehy don't need a LT but a LG.

Basically I don't think the Bears will do enough to fix the line. They will have poor depth again, maybe move 1 or 2 guys around and draft a guy. If Cutler is lucky they will bring in a FA but I would not expect him to be a top guy.

Remember this a group that liked Williams more than Clady and thought Omiyale and Pace would fix the line.

Tice may have some say but Lovie and Angelo will have a lot more say than he does and both of them suck at evaluating talent.

Creighton, I saw this and thought to myself that no one would appreciate it more than you. Enjoy!

*Do you think that Chris Williams will remain at guard or move back to tackle?*

Kirk D.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Larry Mayer: I really wouldn’t be surprised either way, but it’s really too early in the offseason to speculate about that. I think it all depends on how Chris Williams and some of his teammates develop during the offseason as well as what the Bears are able to do to upgrade their offensive line in free agency and the draft. For instance, if they acquire two tackles, I would expect Williams to stay at guard. There are a lot of variables involved in the decision. The good thing is that he possesses the versatility to line up at both positions, and he’s still a young player with potential.

Agreed. I honestly thought Pace might have a season left in him - I was wrong. I know the Bears need a corner, but man, I can't imagine Angelo letting them going into next season without nabbing a quality OT and/or WR. I know they can't just insert a pro-bowler at every position, but I did not think the OL played well last season. They made strides, yes. They did improve. They went from "the worst I have ever seen in my life", to "just a step below average." I hope the GM's office has the ability and opportunity to stabilize those groups with at least 2 quality players.

On a side note, I thought the recievers played pretty poorly in the NFC title game. Then again, it wasn't like Cutler had a lot of time to throw the ball.

Let me also take a parting shot at the "dead horse." I found it fascinating that Cutler was deemed "the most hated man in football" by some of the folks at ESPN - based on literal seconds of camera footage and a couple of photographs. Particularly when Cutler's fellow contemporaries in the playoffs - Vick, Rodgers, Sanchez, Rothlesberger, have all been involved in criminal investigations, autograph snafus and sexual wrongdoing - all alleged of course.

Yellow journalism anyone?

Late.

" The good thing is that he possesses the versatility to line up at both positions, and he’s still a young player with potential."

Why you gotta poke the dog Mike? I hate Larry Mayer, hate. Yeah I also have the versatility to line up at both guard and tackle. "Hey Creighton go stand there and let everyone run past you."

estevenj the reason I have them taking a Corner is because I think their will be a run on D-Line and O-Line. By the time the Bears pick I got 5 tackles off the board, and the top guard and Center gone. So if a top 3 or 4 Corner falls I figure Angelo jumps on him or, or trades down and takes him. It is not a great offensive line class to begin with but after the first 5 tackles are gone and 55 gets drafted it is slim pickings.

I hoped Pace would be ok to but every report had him as being done after his last year with the Rams.

Yeah the Recievers were not great but they never were to begin with. GB is better at disrupting recievers and messing up QB's than any team i nteh NFL. QB passer rating against them was like 68 on average. They got some talent.

Don't bring up the Cutler thing, to many stupid people in the world. Dude there are NFL players who have killed people or been involved in killings, but Cutler gets the hate. People like that really need a good beating. It's ok to rape someone but getting hurt in a game and not smiling about it is unforgivable. I have been saying it for years, there are a lot of Chicago Bears fans that are just an insult to normal fans. Idiots still won't stop cheering when the offense is calling out protection.

Well the Bears offense is a mess, Cutler will not last long getting sacked 50+ times a year, it usually takes 2-3 years to really build a good O-Line, and the Bears have problems at reciever, thank god we are strong at TE. To bad they don't use the position that much.

Most likely Brandon Harris will be gone by the time the Bears pick. And if Wisniewski is there, then Angelo should take him. If he wants to let him play guard for 1 season and then move him to center, so be it. Personally, I think he should be drafted and inserted at center and given the job. And I don't want the Bears coaching staff to give us any of this "making the line call's" crap. Just because Olin points doesn't mean he's any good at what he does. There are way too many missed asignments for Olin to be good at line calls. Plus the fact that this kid seems to be pretty smart and comes from a program that has a history of producing good O-linemen. I have seen one mock draft having the Bears taking Wisniewski in the 2nd round. With Angelo's record of drafting, I don't know if I would hold out for that.

I agree that "conventional Angelo wisdom" would have him not doing as much with the O-line as some might expect, but I suspect the opposite. Maybe, just maybe, the only positive thing to come out of the grade II MCL tear is Angelo wising up to the fact that his diabetic QB is not invincible. Real Bears fans {and I include most of us on here INCLUDING the ones I might not get along with all the time} know that Cutler is tough, but even tough guys can't keep taking those hits time and time again. I still think that with 4 possibly 5 QB's going in the first round {Gabbert, Newton, Locker, Mallett and possibly Kaepernick(could be this year's Flacco)} and another 2-3 in round two and 3 {Stanzi, Dalton, and Ponder} it can only help the Bears with regard to guys being pushed down to them. Who knows, maybe the Bears take a guy like Barnes out of Missouri as a future Olin replacement in the 4th or 5th round.

Not that Angelo has ever really cared much about PR, but from a PR standpoint, trading out of the first round would be disastrous. The Bears have had 2 first round picks in the past 5 years and have P###ed away a second round pick last year. They need to make a selection in each of the first two rounds.

I don't know how he will do at the combine, but keep and eye on Greg Little out of UNC. He reminds me a little of Demarius Thomas who was drafted by the Broncos last year. Little is listed at 6'2", but is very impressive. Missing all of 2010 might make him available in the 3rd round. I also like Pettis out of Boise. He's listed at 205, but I think that is an old BSU press release. He looks bigger than that. And although he's supposed to not have great speed, all he does is get open and he's quicker than people think.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on February 14, 2011 7:04 PM.

Martz says nothing but good things about Cutler was the previous entry in this blog.

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