|"I've said my whole career you have to be pragmatic," Martz said when asked about Chicago's offense. (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Great news for the guy responsible for keeping things going in Chicago now that Jay Cutler is on the shelf with a broken thumb: offensive coordinator Mike Martz won't intentionally design plays to get Caleb Hanie continuously clobbered Sunday against the Raiders.
Specifically, Hanie won't be asked to do in this version of Martz's offense what Kurt Warner did a decade ago in St. Louis when Martz was the coach there. The obvious response: Well, no kidding.
But we're not talking about putting up Warner-ian type numbers. We're talking about the offensive philosophy of throwing the ball all over the yard and making the quarterback the centerpiece of the offense.
"The things we were doing in St. Louis — get it out quick, things happen so quick — we'd never ask him to do that kind of stuff," Martz said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
This revelation seems like a no-brainer, but remember that it took Martz about a month to admit to himself that, to paraphrase Rick Pitino, those "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams aren't walking through that door. So instead of trying to fit the Bears' run-first offense into the old Rams' pass-first schemed, Martz finally relented, acknowledged that Chicago's pass protection had some issues, and started showcasing the offense's strengths: namely Matt Forte and Cutler's ability to throw well from a moving pocket and when he's allowed to get the ball out quickly.
And the results have been beyond impressive. Chicago's now 7-3, second in the NFC North, and in great shape for one of the two wild-card spots. This assumes, of course, that the Bears -- and Martz -- continue to do what they do well now that Hanie's under center. And that starts with Forte. That means having Hanie rely on the running game, but also screen passes, too.
"I've said my whole career you have to be pragmatic," Martz said. "People don't believe you when you say it. You have to find the strengths, what's working for you. In the off week I had a chance to reflect on my approach, make sure I wasn't putting our guys in a position where they weren't going to have as much success as they can."
Nobody would've believed Martz had he said that back in September. Now it's hard not to.
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