Bears

View from the Moon: What is Martz's Bears resume?

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View from the Moon: What is Martz's Bears resume?

Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010
Posted 9:07 AM Updated 10:54 AM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Mike Martz declaring himself open to consideration for head-coaching jobs in the future has some intriguing side stories to it. For one thing, it could ensure that he doesnt get one.

Expressions of interest in jobs are often best voiced over the phone, not over a podium. One lingering suspicion is that Ron Rivera hastened his ouster from the Bears with his active quest for a top job somewhere in the NFL. Nothing whatsoever wrong with that; but insiders have said that Lovie Smith tired of Chicos search pattern, thinking being that if youre not all in, then youre out.

And what kind of reference would Smith give Martz? Smith has repaid Martz for hiring him in St. Louis once upon a time. Martz gave Smith a coordinator job; Smith now has given Martz one, when offers werent exactly pouring in. All square.

Had several college coordinators not been moving too slowly through recruiting for the Bears needs, Martz is quite possibly not in his current billet.

If Smith has any slight whiff that Martz is using this job to get the next one, when indications were even as recent as training camp that Martz didnt aspire to head coaching again, the surprise will be if Smith takes that very well.

Bigger question: What is Martzs Bears resume? Organizations look not only for performance, but also for fit. Martzs Chicago offense was foundering before the off week, when sources tell CSNChicago.com that orders came from above Lovie Smith that there were going to be changes in Martzs design for the offense. Period. Martzs mesh with line coach Mike Tice has been very scratchy at times. The tilt of the offense toward more running and more balance tells you which of the Mikes prevailed in planning game planning.

Ironically, Jay Cutler has never been a better quarterback than he is right now. If Martz warrants blame for mistakes contributing to the three losses in four game a while back, then he also deserves enormous credit for keeping Cutlers head right in this growth spurt hes had from passer to quarterback. Tice didnt do that; Martz has.

All of which means that Martz is indeed every bit the enigma that he was a year and longer ago. The offense changed but how much of was his idea is something a prospective employer would like to know.

I think we all mature, he said, with an air of bemused self-assessment. I probably have matured later in life than a lot of guys. Maybe. Im not there yet.

But I think we all change and grow with different situations, probably. I think that as you get older, there are things that dont upset you or you react to as quickly as maybe you did early in your career.

No interest

By the way, if youre looking for a link to any video of feet, you wont find it here. Sorry; just not interested.

Flex-time?

If the Bears win Sunday, they will be a victory away from clinching the bye as the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, meaning a week off without a game against some pesky wild-card team. If the Green Bay Packers down the New York Giants, they get a step closer to the playoffs themselves.

That then makes the Sunday Jan. 2 Bears game in Green Bay suddenly very, very attractive and a prime candidate for flexing into the Sunday night slot. The NFL left that matchup TBD and Bears-Packers would be a gem, a game between classic rivals both with something huge at stake.

Flex-city.

Speaking up

Holiday time and a special thanks for Jason Goff (sitting in for Danny) and Matt Spiegel this morning for not talking about foot fetishes on our weekly visit on The Danny Mac Show on WSCR-AM 670 at 10 a.m.

What was wonderfully in the exact opposite direction was the interest in what kind of person Devin Hester really is, because Devins emotional moment at the podium last Monday night in Minnesota after the record-setting TD return was a side of a special athlete that we rarely see. A side of any athlete we rarely see, for that matter.

It was a good chance to talk about someone (Hester) who is generally one of the most enjoyable, pleasant people to talk with in a locker room, almost accommodating to a fault at times. And because hes not always the most eloquent speaker (right, like I am?) the unfair characterization develops where judgments are formed about how intelligent someone is.

In Hesters case that is even less important because of what people dont see, which is a guy thoroughly loved by teammates and has been since he got here as a second-round pick in 2006. Ive always felt that Hesters signature move as he finished scoring jaunts, the imitation of Deion Sanders one-hand-behind-the-head, long-striding finish, was never a showboat play by Hester as it was a thank-you to someone who was a mentor, friend, borderline father-figure to him. Showboats concoct their own look-at-mes. Hester never did that and I always thought that was very classy in its own subtle way.

Had to laugh when Spiegs and Jason mentioned talking that I should be chirping about my preseason assessment that the Bears would be 10-6 or better this season. Naaah. Like I told the guys, Im a Barry Sanders boy; when you score, flip the ball to the official and act like youve been there before and youll be back again.

Now, truth be told, I probably would lean toward a gesture or speech pattern or somesuch that would credit the individual who keyed me into some insights that prompted me to change the prediction from 8-8 to far better before the season started. But if I did that, youd know my source (I had inside information) and I never give up a source.

Well, ok, just this once...

The one who told me some things about this team and this season was...

Oh, wait, sorry, the editors are telling me to keep it short. Sorry. Gotta hop.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Can the Bears make enough plays to beat the Carolina Panthers?

Can the Bears make enough plays to beat the Carolina Panthers?

Everything changed for the Bears after going up 17-3 last week against the Baltimore Ravens. Mitchell Trubisky’s 27-yard touchdown to Dion Sims was immediately followed by Bobby Rainey running a kickoff back 96 yards for a touchdown, then the offense was bogged down with three fumbles (two lost) on three consecutive possessions. 

But Adrian Amos seemed to seal the game with his 90-yard pick six — that is, until Michael Campanaro ran Pat O’Donnell’s punt back 77 yards for what wound up being a game-tying touchdown after a two-point conversion.

The point is the Bears should’ve cruised to a comfortable win last week; a few critical mistakes didn’t allow that to happen. The Bears haven’t led at the end of the fourth quarter this year, a pretty strong indicator they haven’t played a complete game yet despite having two wins. 

The Carolina Panthers have road wins over the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots this year, and only lost to the Philadelphia Eagles by five points last week (despite Cam Newton throwing three interceptions). The bet here is the Bears keep things close on the backs of a strong defense, but either can’t make enough plays or make too many mistakes to win. 

Prediction: Panthers 20, Bears 16

Three and out: What Ron Rivera likes about Mitchell Trubisky played out this week

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USA TODAY

Three and out: What Ron Rivera likes about Mitchell Trubisky played out this week

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera saw a lot of Mitchell Trubisky last year, with the North Carolina quarterback on TV quite a bit in the Charlotte area. The Panthers, set with Cam Newton, weren’t in the market for a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft, but Trubisky nonetheless stood out to the seventh-year Carolina coach and former Super Bowl-winning Bears linebacker. 

For Rivera, more than Trubisky’s arm strength and athleticism jumped off the screen. 

“Leadership,” Rivera pointed to. “When you watch him when he was playing — I love watching guys that either get on their teammates when they’re not doing it or they take accountability when they make a mistake. And you saw that with him.

“… We think the young man has got what it takes. We like who’s he’s gonna become. We do. We think the future can be bright for him. We are big fans here.”

Trubisky took accountability for both of his turnovers against the Minnesota Vikings: The interception Harrison Smith baited him into was certainly his fault, but his sack-strip fumble was more the result of Everson Griffen jumping the snap and blowing past left tackle Charles Leno. Against the Baltimore Ravens, Trubisky also lost a fumble on a sack-strip when cornerback Lardarius Webb hit him and dislodged the ball.

Trubisky’s explanation of that fumble was that he moved off his first read too quickly, causing him to miss Webb making a beeline for him in the backfield. But according to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, that fumble wasn’t the quarterback’s fault. 

“That’s because he’s a stud,” Loggains said of Trubisky taking responsibility for it. “We screwed the protection up. We should have been sliding to the guy. The guy should not have been coming free. That’s Mitch taking a bullet that he doesn’t need to take. The reality is he saw the guy coming and tried to get over to the check down quickly but we got to do a better job up front protecting him.”

But that Trubisky was willing to say he was at fault for that fumble plays into why he quickly gained the respect of the Bears’ the locker room. That’s what a quarterback should be doing when speaking to the media after the game — accepting responsibility and deflecting off his teammates, even if he’s not at fault. That kind of stuff doesn’t go unnoticed. 

Stopping Superman

Pernell McPhee offered this goal up for his fellow defensive teammates this week: Make sure Newton stays as Clark Kent on Sunday. 

“He’s a very talented guy, but the only thing I told the defense is let's make him be Cam Newton, not Superman,” McPhee said, referring to Newton’s signature touchdown move. “We don't want him opening up the cape.”

So how does a defense stop Newton from being Superman?

“He’s a very versatile quarterback,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “Obviously his running the ball, whether it be through his improvising with scrambling on called pass plays, or the called running plays they do have for him, that’s a strength for him. We can’t just focus on stopping that. We’ve gotta stop Cam Newton the passer and the runner. They’ve got good running backs they’re handing it off to and receivers and running backs he’s throwing it to, so you’ve got a total offense to stop.”

One point to note here: Newton threw three interceptions last week against the Philadelphia Eagles and had been picked off eight times this year. A Bears secondary that intercepted Joe Flacco twice last week could have some more shots at takeaways on Sunday. 

High praise

Sunday will mark Thomas Davis’ 156th game in the NFL, with the linebacker playing every one of those with the Carolina Panthers. He played for John Fox from 2005-2010. But where we’re going here is what he had to say about how the Bears run their offense with a rookie quarterback:

“I think this is probably the best running game that we’ve seen from an offense with a rookie quarterback,” Davis said. “You look at some of the other rookies that come in. Teams want to run the ball. But when you look at the physicality and the style of play that this team plays with, I think that really makes the job a lot easier for a young quarterback. So I definitely feel like that physicality in their running game is definitely going to help him out.”

The Bears ran the ball 50 times against a Baltimore Ravens defense that played a lot more Cover-2 than expected. With star linebacker Luke Kuechly out for Sunday, the Bears may try to use a similar strategy, even if Carolina loads the box more than Baltimore did (a little more than once one every three runs by Jordan Howard). 

But if the Bears’ offense is going to have success, it’s going to be behind Howard, Tarik Cohen and an improving offensive line. Maybe Davis’ comments are hyperbole, but he’s also played a lot more football than you and me.