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Chicago Bears: Jeremy Bates Should Be Front Runner for New Offensive Coordinator

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 13:  Offensive coordinator Mike Martz of the Chicago Bears watches warm-ups before a preseason game against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field on August 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Bills 10-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Luke CarltonContributor IIIJanuary 3, 2012

As reported by Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, Mike Martz has re-signed over "philosophical differences." It has clear to see that the Martz system and philosophy was not in sync with what Lovie Smith and the rest of the Chicago Bears organization had planned.

It was widely speculated that Martz would not return to the side with his contract up at the end of the season, and his resignation may have beaten Smith to the punch to prevent him from receiving the sack.

With no general manager following the sacking of Jerry Angelo, Smith is now in complete control of the Bears' coaching staff. The offensive coordinator position in Chicago will be appealing with a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback and running back.

An early favorite for the position may be current offensive line coach Mike Tice. Tice was asked to interview for the Tennessee Titans job last year, though the Bears declined the opportunity due to it being such short notice. Tice will be given the opportunity to interview for the position after he has turned the Bears' offensive line into a reasonable group in comparison to the laughing stock it had been in the last few years.

Tice would maintain a similar offensive philosophy to Martz in the style of downfield throws rather than a West Coast, matriculation-of-the-ball-down-the-field approach. Tice's offenses as head coach in Minnesota posed deep passing threats, however, his time at Jacksonville proved that he can also provide a strong running game.

Another candidate, and a one who has surfaced in the past, is Jeremy Bates. Bates was rumored with the offensive coordinator job before Martz came in, but he was hired by the Seattle Seahawks.

CHICAGO, IL - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL,  Mike Tice of the Chicago Bears poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

The catalyst behind these rumors would be the connection between quarterback Jay Cutler and Bates. Bates worked closely with Cutler while in Denver and called the plays for the Broncos in 2008, the year in which Cutler was selected to his first Pro Bowl. In that year, the Broncos has the best offense in the AFC. Bates is currently unemployed after being fired by the Seahawks, who cited philosophical differences.

It's believed that while Tice would offer a downfield-threat approach on offense, Bates would provide a more West Coast philosophy. As a coach under Mike Shanahan, Bates has learned from a Bill Walsh disciple and would look to execute quick passes while also making the most of Cutler's running ability, something which Martz failed to do during his Chicago tenure.

It is believed that Cutler will have a prominent role in selecting his new coach, with quarterback coach Shane Day fired by the Bears. For the reason that Bates has worked and produced results with Cutler before, he would be the front runner for the job.

However, choosing Bates over Tice would leave the door open for Tice to interview with other teams in the NFL for potential offensive coordinator openings. Smith has maintained that he wants to keep as much of the coaching staff intact and losing Tice may be a big loss for the Bears.

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