The Bears wasted little time filling the vacancy at offensive coordinator, elevating Mike Tice to the spot held by Mike Martz until last Tuesday.
Tices promotion has been expected as long ago as last offseason when Martz turned down an offer of a contract extension while the Bears were giving Tice a raise and turning down a request from the Tennessee Titans to interview Tice for their offensive-coordinator post.
The expected plan is to have Tice be primarily in charge of the run game and the overall play-calling, and have an assistant responsible for the passing game. A strong candidate is expected to be wide receivers coach Darryl Drake, who shares the philosophy of a solid run game and has always placed a premium on receivers being blockers.
Tice has been increasingly involved in the Bears game planning since the off week of the 2010 season. At that point the Bears had lost consecutive games to Seattle and Washington with a pass-heavy plan by Martz.
During the break Tice was given an expanded voice in the game planning and the Bears offense swung back into a balance that was part of a 7-2 finish on the way to the playoffs.
Tice is a former head coach, having been in charge of the Minnesota Vikings during the time (2001-2005) of Randy Moss and a strong passing offense with Daunte Culpepper. He was offensive line coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2006-2009 before coming to the Bears.
Ironically, Tice was Jerry Angelos preference for offensive coordinator in 2010, being hired well ahead of Martz. Tice was a college quarterback at Maryland and a tight end with the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings.