Chicago Sun-Times

The Bears dilemma with Mike Tice

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On the one hand, Bears coach Lovie Smith has empowered his assistants to interview for other jobs, especially promotions. But on the other, the Bears are a difficult point in the offseason.

The NFL Combine is just 10 days away, and the Bears would have a difficult time replacing Tice, not only because of what he did in 2010 but because of who is out there to replace him.

Only a couple of jobs are unfilled, and the most high-profile ones are on the defensive side of the ball.

Staffs are largely settled, and they are collectively shifting their focus to evaluating their own rosters and looking ahead to the Combine.

Given the obvious issues to his position group, it wouldn't be a stretch to say Tice is one of the -- if not the most -- important assistant on Smith's staff right now. Tice also has a track record of identifying and developing young linemen, particularly in the later rounds.

Although the Bears have their full allotment of draft picks, the club surely would prefer to leave that first-round pick open to the best player available. While that could end up being an offensive lineman, the Bears would prefer to have options. Tice's input could help develop a strong contingency plan for players in the second- or even third-round.

But Tice has never been an offensive coordinator in the NFL, and he surely would be intrigued by that opportunity. He's done everything else, and the Titans certainly have some weapons for him to potentially work with. The most obvious is running back Chris Johnson, but the Titans also have something else that would appeal to him: some proven offensive linemen. The Titans have to figure out what to do at quarterback, but, given his background, Tice's insight into protections and run-blocking could actually make him an even stronger candidate.

But here's a twist. In addition to being appreciated in Chicago, Tice is close to his son Nate, who is quarterback at the University of Wisconsin. He's also only a short plane trip from the Twin Cities, where his daughter Adrienne lives.

So the Bears best solution may be to upgrade Tice's contract and, perhaps, offer him an upgraded title. But one complication is that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli currently also has the title of assistant head coach.

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14 Comments

I think Mike Tice did a great job with the talent he had available, but even so, the offensive line cost the Bears at least two victories. Although the coaches may be significant, the talent they work with is a lot more important. Worry about drafting some offensive linemen who are powerhouses, never quit blocking and have speed.Tice is easier to replace than getting two or three solid offensive linemen.

Paul, yeah it's very true that Tice can only do so much and that real talent must be brought in to make improvements on the offensive line, but as Sean mentioned A.) Who would replace him if he left? and B.) With the combine coming up and the draft not too far off, wouldn't you want Tice's invaluable input on offensive line prospects? If I was Lovie "What is this so called 'offense' people tell me about?" Smith or Jerry Angelo I think I would.

Speaking of the draft...how does Mike Pouncey at guard sound to anyone? Aggresive, physical, determined, seems to have a nasty streak...you know, everything Chris Williams is not.

2 words...Jerry Fontenot. He is the assistant OL coach for the Packers, and outside of Sitton, who is a rising star, they have done a lot with some pretty average linemen. I listened to him during an interview this past week, and he still has strong feelings for Chicago, and he wants a shot at being the OL coach for a team.

Having Tice, a former head coach and strong personality, in our meeting rooms is a good thing. But for the Bears to give another guy the "assistant head coach" title is just dumb. And it would also put Tice higher than Martz on the coaching tree, and Martz's ego will struggle with that big time.

We need to decide what we want. Do we want a ball-control offense, or do we want Martz's offense? Martz leads the league or is in the running for sacks allowed and turnovers every year he has been a coordinator. Any line coach who can succeed and drop those sack numbers would be able to write his own ticket around the league after that. So who's willing to take that risk? It would need to be someone who either has a strong-enough rep to not be hurt if they failed, or someone who hasn't gotten a shot yet to be an OL coach. Fontenot makes sense to me, but I don't know if the Pack will let him interview.

"Tice also has a track record of identifying and developing young linemen, particularly in the later rounds."

This is his greatest value to the Bears right now, because nobody on this staff has a clue about O-Line talent.

Here are some points that I see prompting Tice to leave. One how well does he get along with Martz? It's not like these guys see eye to eye scheme wise. Wasn't it Tice who had to reach out to the Times to help stop the Martz madness when he stated to this "No point in having me here if your not going to run the ball" Didn't he and Lovie and Rod have to confront Martz?

Driving from Chicago to Nashville is about 12-14 hours. It's like an hour and 30 min flight to Wisconsin.

This is not a Tice style offense. This is not the stuff he likes to run or an offense he knows very well.

Martz should be fired but will not be. Back when Martz ran the greatest show on Turf he had Dick Vermeil and a guy on offense who's name I forget helping him run the offense both those guys helped tone down Martz and made him use the running game. While we have seen a decline in the Martz offense since Vermeil and him split, Vermeil went to KC and had the number one ranked offense in the nfl for 3 consecutive years. It would seem to me Martz had a lot of help with the Rams in terms of coaching but took all the credit.

Rod Marinelli was not a good head coach and did little to help improve the Bears line a year ago. However he was a solid coordinator once he got Peppers and Urlacher.

Tice could follow in the same steps as Marinelli. However just because he interviews does not mean he will get the job. The Titans would seem like an ideal fit for what Tice likes but they are missing one thing. A QB. Who says Tice wants an offense that has no QB? We saw with the Bears that once again you need the talent and they had to get Peppers and they needed Urlacher back healthy.

Maybe he interviews and doesn't get the job or maybe he doesn't want the job. A new head coach, and no QB is not the best situation in the world. However the new head coach is a HOF linemen from back in the day and he and Tice could see eye to eye.

Tice can help the Bears in the draft because nobody on the the staff but him seem to know linmen. Tice can help keep Martz in check. Tice is known as a players coach and I am sure the guys really like him.

What can the Bears in turn offer Tice? Seems to me the Bears need Tice more than Tice needs the Bears.

First I agree Mike Pouncey would look nice in a bear uniform but I don't think he is going to last that long. Most mock drafts have the bears taking Carimi, a nice tackle with a mean streak who is probably best suited for RT but might be able to play LT. Either 1 would be just fine, Joe if we do lose Tice I think Fontenot would be a good replacement but not sure Pack would let him go to the bears. Martz would be pissed if Tice became the "2nd assistant HC", but if Tice I'm begging to get away from lovie and JA.

Joe you think the Pack will let Jerry Fontenot talk to the Bears? They could he is only assistant, but he has been working with zone blocking. He's a good guy he is on 670 every now and then talking football with the guys. However if the Pack can screw the Bears the Pack will screw the Bears.

Its funny this is a big deal right now. This is really not that big of a deal. There is just nothing else to talk about with the Bears right now. They are such a "BLAH" team.

The coach is emotionless.
The QB just doesn't care what anyone says about him. Absolutely no response from anyone to any issue when the team is asked.

The next biggest deal right now is the CBA. There might not be a full season of football next year. That must get resolved.

The biggest thing after that is the draft.

Free agency is a moot point until the CBA gets done.

Uprooted,

Don't count out Carimi as a LT. I have watched this kid all year and was very interested in seeing him in the Rose Bowl against the smaller, faster linemen from TCU. He handled the situation quite well. He also played well against Michigan which also has some quicker DE's. I also watched him at the SR bowl practice and he looked good. Some drafts have him going to Polian and the Colts earlier. I have also seen a draft where Pouncey goes to the Bears. I don't think he would make it that far. If the Bears came away with a T and a G/C in the first 5 rounds of the draft I would be happy.

Depending on how long the labor dispute goes, free agency might lend the Bears some help. Forget guys like Mankins or even Clabo, but Creighton was talking about the Packers sticking it to the Bears with regard to not letting them speak to Fontenot if the situation had arrisen. Well, why not take a shot at Colledge? He's young, athletic, has a great motor, and it would be nice to stick it to them as well. And I would say that with having to practice against Raji, he is well equiped to work well against him. Nicks from NO is a FA as well. Much bigger and less athletic, but would hold up well against the Raji's and Suh's.

I don't know if any of you saw the McShay/Kiper segment yesterday on SC, but as they were talking, the teams were being scrolled under them with their needs and a draft fact about that particular team. When the Bears came up, WR wasn't listed as a need. I found that to be funny. But when the Falcons came up, their #1 need was WR. Both Jenkins and White are under 30 and the Falcons have 4 WR's on either IR or the practice squad. If Angelo goes comes out of the draft not addressing WR in the first 3 rounds then he is a bigger fool than I thought. {Which is a stretch.} There are alot of holes to fill and the biggest moron in all of football trying to fill them.

Gearhead,
I thought Carimi's best game was against Cameron Heyward, a potential first rounder from Ohio State. He handled him one on one most of the game, and held his own very well. I think he is a Jake Long-type LT, where he isn't a ballerina by any stretch, but he is capable of holding down that side and dealing with the speed and power of the RDEs in the league.

I think Castanzo and Carimi are much more polished at this point than Solder, Smith, and Sherrod. If we can get a G or C at 29, I would be ok with getting James Carpenter from Bama in round 2. I think between Indy, Detroit, New England, Atlanta, Buffalo, Minnesota, San Diego, and potentially KC all needing OL help, it is going to be tough for Carimi and Castanzo to slip through to us.

Gearhead, Angelo is probably not the guy picking the linemen this year. It's probably Tice.

Falcons biggest need is O-Line as they have 3 starters who are FA's. After that it's WR, Jenkins and Douglas suck.

Forget about College, Packers play a zone line and that's about all he is suited to play in. Tice will probably be looking to work in more of a power run game in 2012, College is good for cut blocking and that's about it. Sitton would be a different story.

Doesn't really matter who the Bears draft at this point when it comes to the line, you could replace all five of them and nobody would bat an eye. Well Kevin would but, that's Kevin. Either way they will be rookies and that's usually not a good thing. Also expect some cuts to be coming soon for teams looking to get rid of players before the lockout..

Something still tells me the Bears think one new starter and some shuffling will fix that line. Everytime someone mentions the Bears line, they usually want to replace Omiyale and that's it. They claim you can get by with everyone else. Frank Omiyale did not give up 56 sacks and a 100 pressures. I herer well maybe you can get by with Williams at LG, and maybe another year or two for Olin and Garza and gosh that Webb really showed something.

It's funny how it's always refered to as getting by or gosh maybe in the future he will be good. If the Bears have a chance to upgade the line at any position that is exactly what they should do.

WR for the Bears is probably after O-Line and DT. Bears are in a bad position to be hoping to find a LT who can play man in a power scheme and a deep passing scheme. Not a lot of those guys exist and after the first 15 picks it's a rare find.

I would like to see the Bears get a young anchor in FA, don;t care what position on the line he plays but the Bears could use a 1 or 2 young vets right now and a couple of linmen drafted for the future as well.

I am big on Yanda at RG this year or even RT. Not a lot will be on the market after players get tagged, Bears could also look at Gaither if his back is ok.

Not really big on this draft in terms of the O-Line, I here the talking heads on ESPN talking about how great it is but they always say that. Nobody really stands out on the line. But still their is always a premium in the first rounds on OT's. Tons of teams need O-Line help it was one of the worst years in a long time for offensive line play.

Solder would be the guy you would want to fall to the Bears but that is not going to happen.

Tyron Smith won't fall to the Bears either. Not to mention he is from USC, that's like kryptonite to Angelo.

Gabe Carimi, not going ot be their either

Derek Sherrod he gone

Bears will probably be looking at Anthony Castonzo who really belongs in a zone, Mike Pouncey maybe, Benjamin Ijalana, Stefen Wisniewski, John Moffitt, and Joseph Barksdale.

I hate Castonzo for the Bears, Pouncy has upside but tackle is the biggest need, sp I am going with Barksdale, he needs work with his run blocking and Tice would be just the guy to help him with that, his pass protection is really good. Only problem with him is he may be a bit of a doorbell, in which case I wouldn't want him.

Will Angelo do something he has never done and draft a Center or Guard in the first two rounds with all those Defensive players still on the boards or will he seek to get burnt by Boston College again? The safety and warm feel of drafting a defensive player or the scary cold evil feeling of drafting offense?

Jerry Angelo at the nfl combine.
Okkkkk Tice, well popcorn and peanuts I just don't get why you can't find all your offensive players in the 6th and 7th rounds? After all that's where you found Matt Birk and ummmm all those other greats, like ummm. It's totally common to find real high end blue chip talent late in the draft. Maybe I should be the one picking the guys for the line after all I did live in Florida.

Joe you may want to add the Giants and the Eagles without question need help. Carimi and Solder will be looked at hard by both those teams and both fit their schemes.

Slim pickings at 29 for tackles in most cases. Lots of top guards and Centers have gone right around that pick though.

I understand that Angelo doesn't "draft" all the guys. He gets input. But having said that, since he is the one being interviewed before the NFC Championship game with the big !@#$ eating grin on his face, then he will have to take the ire of the fans. If you are the plant manager of any "widget" making factory and your "X" line can't keep up with your "Y" line year after year, then sure, you replace the line's supervisor, but at the end of the day, it is you who is responsible.

I will take Colledge. He's athletic and at 315#, big enough to move someone at the point of attack, but nimble enough to get out on leads. I don't think Angelo go burned by BC. He just didn't listen to any doctor worth his salt about the recovery time for Columbo's injury.I would take Columbo's production over the past 6-7 years if he had been here and would have considered it a success for Angelo. Not every 1st rounder is going to be a perenial all-pro. Some are just destined to be 10 year starters who on a scale between 1-10 end up being a 7-7.5. That, in my estimation, is Columbo.

I dissagree with you on some of the players you have gone by the time the Bears pick. You have obviously been watching the draft as long as I have and know that for some reason guys always slip. Not all, of course, but 1 or 2 of them. It's like GM's and scouts talk them up and then no one wants to pull the trigger for whatever reason. Happens almost every year. I remember 20 years ago or so there was a Pitt defensive tackle named Grossman {I think} who was supposed to go in the 1st round, they had a camera on him at some bar and I even think Ditka called him and said the Bears were going to take him at some point and he slipped to the 3rd round. There are also GM's who fall in love with a player and will draft that player 10-15+ picks ahead of where they should go, pushing other players farther down. Remember Harvey to the Jags a couple of years ago? Who knows who it will be this year.

And it baffles me how the Bears could have DT higher than WR. I would much rather come back with Harris, Toeaina, Melton, Adams, and then maybe a low round pick, than to come back with Knox {may still get somewhat better}, Hester {peaked out as a WR}, Bennett {dime a dozen, average speed, possession receiver} Davis {should have been gone 2 seasons ago} Aromashodu {screwed by this coaching staff. The offense's version of Corey Graham}, and the kid from the CFL. I think Jenkins is a more talented Justin Gage. Bottom line is that the Bears need one of those "go up and get it" kind of guys. I really hope Carimi falls. I also like the kid from Mississippi, Sherrod.

I do agree with you that there will be some casualty cuts made by other teams. I don't know how that will help the Bears. None the less, it will be interesting.

Joe, I agree on Carimi. I remember the year Jake Long came out, there were 2 DE's that came out at the same time. I think it was Gholston{sp} and Chris Long. When they showed their highlights it was both of them beating Jake Long..lol. I honestly didn't think he was going to be this good. Buffalo and Minnesota might be looking QB. And Buffalo at #3 won't take an O-lineman that high. If Gabbert keeps moving up, they may take him.

Looking at the past decade, Only 2 team have won the superbowl with average quarterbacks. Baltimore, and Tampa Bay. Not since 2002 has an average quarterback won a superbowl.

With the rules today, teams know they need good QB play to have a chance. I see 4 QB's taken in the first round. History says that 3 of the 4 QBs will be busts, but teams will still take a chance on them because of their importance. Also, this class is strong for pass rushers, and DB's. This will push at least one really good offensive lineman to the Bear's spot. Angelo just has to identify and draft him when the time comes.

I now think we can solve 2 problems before the end of the league year. Marcus Stroud just got released by the Bills. He can play the nose, and Toeaina can play the 3 tech, with Melton coming in for pass rushing situations. And we need to watch the situation with Atogwe very closely, because I can't see St. Louis paying him $8M on the 21st, so they will have to release him. Since they both were released before the end of the league year (still under contract vs. expiring contract), they can be signed prior to the start of free agency.

Then we can focus on WR, OL, and backups at LB in the draft.
I think we need to take an OL at 29, and if none of the guys left are the right fit, then Jerry's penchant for trading back is actually a good idea, where we can move back and take Carpenter with our existing second, and try and shore up other spots with our gained second rounder (wisniewski, Boling, Hankerson, or a DL). Not having free agency before the draft will make this a lot more interesting...

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on February 13, 2011 10:13 AM.

The Bears dilemma with Mike Tice was the previous entry in this blog.

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