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.
JJ Stankevitz is joined by ESPN Lions reporter Mike Rothstein to dive into how close Detroit is to cleaning house (1:00), expectations for Matthew Stafford (5:50) and T.J. Hockenson (10:00), what new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s scheme looks like (13:45), where the Lions are strongest and weakest on defense (16:50) and if this team actually respects Matt Patricia (22:20).
Plus, Mike discusses the story he co-wrote on the rise and fall of the AAF and what it would take for a spring football league to succeed (26:10).
Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:
Under Center Podcast
Bears fourth-round pick Riley Ridley knew what to expect coming into the NFL thanks to his older brother Calvin, the Atlanta Falcons wide receiver.
Their family bond kept them close even as they played for rival colleges and now competing professional teams, and they both take a lot of motivation from the name on the back of their jerseys.
The two receivers came together on camera for the Bears’ “Meet the Rookies” series.
“We do what we do, not just for the family, but for our name, our brand,” Riley Ridley said. “We want to take that as far as it can go. That Ridley name is strong, and that’s how we view it.”
Ridley opened up about growing up with his mother raising him and his three brothers. He said he’s going to be his own biggest critic and do everything he can to help his teammates.
His brother Calvin added some color to the image of Riley that’s starting to take shape.
“Very funny, really cool, laid back,” Calvin Ridley said. “He’s a different person on the field. I would say he has a lot of anger on the field — very physical.”
Matt Nagy should find good use for that physicality in the Bears offense, plugging Ridley in a wide receiver group already deep with young talent.
Ridley doesn’t seem like the type of player who will allow himself to get buried on the depth chart.