Could This Be It? The Chicago Bears Hiring of Mike Martz
Greg Olson might be the most disappointed member of the Chicago Bears with the hiring of Mike Martz. Or could the most disappointed be Earl Bennett? Or Devin Aromashadu? Or Johnny Knox.
Something Dan Bernstein, co-host of "Boers and Bernstein" on Chicago sports radio station 670AM the Score, keeps pointing to worries me as a Bears fan. No, it's not Martz' tendency to pass. Most football fans, included myself, love that, as it allows the team to rid itself, once and for all, of this "get off the bus running" crap.
What worries me is that Martz' offensive schemes virtually ignore the tight end as a viable option. Keep this in mind: Turning Greg Olson into Ernie Conwell is going to end up as a disaster. Olson is an Antonio Gates-type tight end. Before anyone gets this idea: I'm not comparing Olson to Gates. That would be stupid and despite what some people on this site think, I'm not a stupid man.
What I'm saying is, Ernie Conwell worked as a blocker because he was the fourth or fifth, possibly even sixth, receiving option, behind three hall of famers and whatever third wideout signed with the Rams.
Tight ends don't do well with Martz. He doesn't draw up schemes with them as the focal point, he doesn't seem to believe in them as receivers and sometimes you worry that he thinks that they do not have hands. Literally. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but not by much.
People don't change. Martz is one of them. I might be wrong and I'd like someone to correct me if possible, but didn't Vernon Davis have a breakout season after Martz was shown the door?
Everyone turned down the job, some to sign with inferior teams. Jeremy Bates went to Seattle to work with Pete Carroll. Perry Fewell turned the job down to sign with the Giants. (Save your tomatoes, people, I'm not saying the Bears are better than the Giants! OW! That hurt!) Ken Zampese probably would have been preferred, even if he had never done anything.
This brings me to Lovie Smith. With the hiring of Mike Tice, Mike Martz and Rod Marinelli being promoted to D-coordinator and I'm sure I'm not the one who thought of this, but he's now brought in three guys who coached or coordinated in the division. One of those guys recently coached the NFL's first 0-16 team.
This has the potential to be really, really bad. With a year to prove that he should still be the coach of the Chicago Bears, he isn't rolling the dice, he's loading them with ball bearings. Unfortunately, he loaded them on the wrong side and they keep coming up snake eyes.
A couple of years ago, the Bears drafted Olson at the end of the first round with an eye on turning him into a quicker Jason Witten, if not Gates. This has not happened. Is this a development issue?
Olson has potential. But, of course, sometimes potential is not recognized. Which, in this case, would really not be good news for Bears fans. Still, Olson should have been a top five tight end by now and he already would have, if the Bears didn't idiotically make Devin Hester their top receiving threat.
However, I complained all throughout last year that Olson was soft. Remember the end of the Eagles game with the interception? That was as much Olson's fault as Cutler's, if not more. But only the Bears, only this team, would bring in an OC that doesn't maximize the effect of the tight end.
Likewise, only the Bears, knowing that you can't give some players too many plays (including seemingly their entire receiver corps) without their eyes glazing over, would hire a man with (and I hope this is an exaggeration) 100 different plays in his holster.
Not only that, but when my eyes turn toward Packerland, I see a TE named JaMichael (in the first draft, I called him JaMarcus) Finley who might end up being really good under a coach that many Packer fans loathe (or at least the ones I know that I can admit that I know, without the word "accessory" being added to my criminal record). Then I look back down here and we've hired Beelzebub.
Hate to say it, but I've already started to miss Ron Turner. And if you think that's weird, consider that if Martz screws up, I may start yearning for the days of Gary Crowton. In that case, to quote Napoleon XIV "They're coming to take me away...to the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time..."
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