Bears

Martz gone, Tice to take over?

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Martz gone, Tice to take over?

You cant fire me. I quit.

That was the statement effectively made mid-Tuesday as Mike Martz resigned as offensive coordinator, citing philosophical differences. Which would be more noteworthy if Martz werent already leaving anyway because he was without a contract for 2012.

Going with him is quarterbacks coach Shane Day following a year in which the assessment and play of Caleb Hanie as a backup was a disaster, and rookie Nathan Enderle never developed enough to even be active by week 17.

Martz created a firestorm around himself late this season when his camp began to put his name in play for other jobs, NFL and college. The lack of focus in a season that was in peril angered coach Lovie Smith and sealed his fate in Chicago.

The search will be on for a Martz successor, which may extend only as far as down the way at Halas Hall where offensive line coach Mike Tices office is. However, Tice was a pick of now-former GM Jerry Angelo in 2010, and Martz was brought in over Tice.

Bill Callahan is out of contract with the New York Jets, is a Chicagoan and also is considered one of the top offensive line coaches in the NFL. If Tice is elevated to Martzs job, Callahans roots in Chicago may be a pull.

But a concern of coaching candidates will be the unmistakable pressure Smith is under to win in 2012. This was a problem when Dick Jauron needed to replace Gary Crowton in 2001 and was left with John Shoop from his incumbent staff members. That works in Tices favor in a win-or-else year.

Martzs departure marks the third time since he has flopped with a defense-based head coach since leaving the St. Louis Rams. He was fired by Rod Marinelli in Detroit and Mike Singletary in San Francisco before getting a shot from Smith to return to the NFL.

The offense achieved some successes under Martz, who succeeded Ron Turner. But the past two seasons have been bumpy as Martz frequently went to his preferred downfield passing game and had to be reined in by Smith in both mid-2010 and again in early 2011 after eschewing offensive balance and going with game plans that were ill-suited for what his players could do.

On the personnel side, Martz pushed for signing a veteran backup in 2010, bringing in Todd Collins who proved to be more of a disaster than Hanie this year. The Bears also traded away tight end and former No. 1 pick Greg Olsen when it was determined that he was not deemed a fit for Martzs offense.

Former CFL star Tre Roberson has chance to emerge in Bears' secondary

Former CFL star Tre Roberson has chance to emerge in Bears' secondary

The Chicago Bears' decision to release veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara has created a void in the starting lineup on defense, one that recent CFL free-agent signee Tre Roberson will be given a chance fill. The Bears are expected to add more candidates for the job over the next couple of months, but Roberson (who was courted by nine teams this offseason) will have his shot.

“I just feel real comfortable there,” Roberson told Bears All Access about why he chose Chicago. “When I came on my visit to the Bears, my workout just felt like I was at home. They made sure I was real comfortable in every aspect of the trip. I just feel like a great place to be is close to home. I’m from Indianapolis, so it’s not too far away.

"We’ve been to Calgary, so it’s a long way from home. So I just feel like it was the best place for me, and I feel like I can help the organization get to the next level, which is winning the Super Bowl.”

Roberson's two-year, $1.235 million deal is a low-risk, high-reward transaction for GM Ryan Pace. At worst, Roberson turns into a contributor on special teams and a solid depth cornerback. But if the Bears catch lightning in a bottle and Roberson emerges as a legitimate and reliable starting cornerback, his contract will turn into one of the biggest bargains in the league.

Roberson had 10 interceptions during his two seasons in Canada, including seven in 2019. He was considered the top CFL free agent making the jump to the NFL this offseason and was rewarded with the most lucrative contract a Canadian League star has received since Cam Wake.

Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine (slot) have two of the three cornerback gigs locked up, and Kevin Toliver will likely get the first crack at replacing Amukamara (assuming the Bears don't add a veteran free agent this March). Even if they select a rookie early in the 2020 NFL draft, Toliver should have the first opportunity to prove he belongs in the starting lineup. He logged 175 snaps in 2019 and looked like an ascending talent.

By the time the regular season rolls around, however, it could be Roberson who goes from starting in Calgary to lining up as a starter in Chicago.

Taylor Gabriel says goodbye to Chicago in two-part Twitter post

Taylor Gabriel says goodbye to Chicago in two-part Twitter post

The Bears parted ways with wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, releasing him and cornerback Prince Amukamara on Friday.

Gabriel, who played two seasons with the Bears, took to Twitter to thank the fans and the city of Chicago as a whole for his time with the squad. His kind message came attached to video clips of two of Gabriel's six receiving touchdowns as a Bear.

Over his two years and 25 games with the Bears, Gabriel racked up 96 receptions, 1,041 yards, and 6 touchdowns.

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