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.

Is Jordan Howard underrated in fantasy football?

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USA Today

Is Jordan Howard underrated in fantasy football?

Jordan Howard has accomplished some pretty amazing things to start his career. Most notably, he's the only running back in Chicago Bears franchise history to finish his first two seasons with more than 1,000 rushing yards, including 1,313 yards as a rookie, good for a team rookie record.

Still, Howard has been the target of criticism this offseason because of his questionable set of hands. He was plagued by a case of the drops last season and he's been labeled as a guy who can't catch the ball heading into 2018. Combine that with the player nipping at his heels -- Tarik Cohen -- and the overwhelming theory advanced by analysts is that he'll give way to Cohen on passing downs.

This presumption has made its way into the world of fantasy football, too. Howard is rarely if ever mentioned as one of the first running backs that should be drafted this summer and in a recent player vs. player showdown on Pro Football Focus, 49ers starter Jerick McKinnon was selected as a more appealing fantasy starter in 2018.

It’s close, but I give the nod to Jerick McKinnon. Howard’s troubles in the passing game are very real and it’s clear the Bears want to focus on that more this year. Meanwhile, McKinnon was handed a fat contract and has little competition when it comes to carries.

McKinnon, a career backup, was signed by San Franciso to be Kyle Shanahan's feature running back. He has a real chance to be a stud in fantasy circles, but should he be valued over a guy like Howard who's proven to be a contender for the NFL's rushing crown?

All of this offseason chatter will serve as great motivation for Howard who has to prove, first and foremost, that he can be a three-down back for coach Matt Nagy in the Bears' new offense. If he has a consistent training camp as a receiver and carries that momentum into the preseason and regular season, those fantasy players who draft McKinnon or another less-proven player over Howard will long for a redo.

15 Most Important Bears of 2018: No. 8 - Eddie Goldman

15 Most Important Bears of 2018: No. 8 - Eddie Goldman

Eddie Goldman is entering the final year of his contract this season and in order to cash in on a big payday, he'll need to stay healthy and make good on his top-tier potential. 

If he does, he'll become a very wealthy man and the Bears defense will have an even better year than its top-10 finish a season ago.

Goldman, 24, came to Chicago via the second round of the 2015 NFL draft and quickly became a household name among Bears fans. He started 12 games that season and finished with a surprising 4 1/2 sacks, a total that was more productive than his college scouting report predicted. He was pegged as a breakout star for 2016, but injuries ultimately derailed his second season. He played only six games that year (started five) but still flashed a surprisingly productive set of pass-rush traits; he finished 2016 with 2 1/2 sacks.

This past season represented something of a mixed bag for Goldman. He started 15 games and quieted some of the injury concerns that started bubbling around him, but his production dipped. He managed only 1 1/2 sacks. That said, he set a career-high with 27 tackles, nearly doubling his output as a rookie.

Still, Goldman wasn't a dominant force in 2017. He finished the year ranked 69th among interior defenders with a 76.3 grade from Pro Football Focus. Despite being healthy and available, it was the lowest season grade of his career from PFF.

Nose tackle is arguably the most critical position for any defense running a 3-4 scheme. It's no exception in Chicago. Goldman will set the table for linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith and the more bodies he can consume or attention he can draw from offensive lines, the more room second-level defenders will have to work. It's not just about filling up the stat sheet for Goldman. If he clogs running lanes and collapses the pocket consistently, he'll be worth every penny of a big contract extension despite lacking numbers.

The Bears need Goldman to bring his A-game in 2018, especially as a pass rusher. Chicago resides in arguably the most talented quarterback division in the NFL and for the defense to make those quarterbacks uncomfortable, Goldman has to apply pressure up the middle. He's proven he can do it, as evidenced by his rookie year production. But he's been on a steady decline in this area of his game since then and there's no room for more regression in 2018.

Players entering contract years tend to bring extra motivation to the field and there's no reason to expect anything less from Goldman. If he can combine his rookie year production with last season's availability, he could end up with the most well-rounded year of his career en route to leading the Bears' defensive line on a late-season playoff push.