Chicago Bears: 5 Candidates to Replace Mike Martz

Michael Gibbons@DachicagofanCorrespondent IIJanuary 4, 2012

Chicago Bears: 5 Candidates to Replace Mike Martz

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    Black Tuesday hit Halas Hall this week.

    First it was general manager Jerry Angelo losing his job, then it was word that offensive coordinator Mike Martz would not be brought back. Quarterback coach Shane Day was also let go.

    So here we are again with Lovie Smith searching for his fourth offensive coordinator as he prepares to enter his ninth season as the Bears head coach.

    Team president Ted Phillips made it very clear on Tuesday that Lovie will have free reign to replace 
    Martz. That means he does not need to wait for a new general manager. However Lovie's history with this is pretty bad.

    First there was Terry Shea, who was brought in to install the Mike Martz offense. After losing Rex Grossman to injury, much like Martz's offense this past season, it went down the drain. Shea lasted one very forgettable season.

    All you really have to remember about him was he brought Jonathan Quinn to Chicago.

    In 2005, Ron Turner was brought back to Chicago. He brought a more traditional run-oriented offense, which helped the Bears reach the Super Bowl. However, after a bad 2009, someone had to take the blame and Lovie decided the blame should fall on the offense.

    That brings us to two seasons ago, where after a lengthy search, Mike Martz was hired. 

    Two years later we are right back with Lovie needing a fall guy and again he will blame the offense. So who will be the fourth offensive coordinator for Lovie Smith?

    Pay attention, because it may be his last.

Mike Tice

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    This really is the "duh" choice and probably the most likely.

    Lovie Smith likes to promote from within. While he hasn't done it on the offensive side of the ball, he has done it three times on the defensive side of the ball.

    It is hard to tell how Mike Tice would do as an offensive coordinator since he has never held the job. He has been a line coach and a head coach, but never really had the job description of calling the plays.

    The only thing I remember from his Minnesota days was the "Randy Ratio," which was basically getting the ball to Randy Moss as much as possible.

    Sadly, the Bears don't have a receiver like Randy Moss.

    Promoting Tice may also insure that he stays with the organization, as I am sure he will be mentioned as a head coaching candidate as well as maybe a few offensive coordinator jobs.

Jeremy Bates

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    He was on the short list last time, so I'm sure his name will be mentioned again.

    Jeremy Bates may have even been the front-runner two years ago, but he accepted a job in Seattle instead of Chicago. Many rumors had him being Jay Cutler's top choice back then.

    Bates has a history with Cutler from their days in Denver but was fired after only one season with the Seahawks.

    Since his firing last January, he has been unemployed, which may work against him in getting the offensive coordinator job. However, he could be in the running for the quarterback coach spot.

    That is if he has smoothed everything over with Cutler.

Brian Billick

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    Brian Billick has been out of coaching since 2007 and you have to wonder if he will ever come back.

    Billick could be a perfect fit with this team. He knows how to run an offense to go with a strong defense. Furthermore, he also knows how to run a high-powered offense.

    With Cutler and Forte, he would have weapons he hasn't had since his days with the Vikings. Throw in getting great field position from Devin Hester and the special teams and this offense could be deadly.

    While most former successful head coaches rarely come back as a coordinator, Billick may have to if he wants another head coaching job.

    Five years is a long time to be away and with each year it seems like his name has been mentioned less and less for job openings.

    With the Bears, he could remind everyone how good he is and also may carve himself a future in Chicago if Lovie and the defense stumble.

Todd Haley

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    Personally, this would be my top choice. Best of all, he has Chicago ties.

    Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley served on Dick Jauron's staff with the Bears from 2001-2003. He coached the wide receivers—namely Pro Bowler Marty Booker.

    On that fact alone I would be willing to turn the offense over to him and see what he can do with the guys we have now. However, there is more to his resume.

    He also served as offensive coordinator to the Arizona Cardinals when they went to the Super Bowl. Remember who is quarterback was back then?

    Kurt Warner.

    Mike Martz's offense made Warner a star and Haley's isn't so different.

    If Lovie Smith is serious about not going for a serious change but just a tweak in offensive philosophy, then this might be his guy.

Mike Martz

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    What if the perfect guy to replace Mike Martz is Mike Martz?

    I know many experts didn't expect him to return, but with no new job waiting for him, could the door still be open for his return?

    Who is to say that in a few weeks if Lovie hasn't find his fourth offensive coordinator that he can't turn back to his third one?

    With Jay Cutler under center and Mike Martz calling the plays, the Bears were 17-5 over the last two seasons. They ran for over 2,000 yards this season with Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte missing four games and most of a fifth one.

    It might not be a perfect match, but there is no denying that the system was working.

    So I ask: Would it be the worst thing if Martz returned?