Mike Martz was offensive coordinator in 1999 when the St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl beating the Tennessee Titans under head coach Dick Vermeil and journeyman Kurt Warner. Vermeil subsequently retired and Martz was promoted to head coach leading the team back to the Super Bowl in 2001 ultimately losing to the New England Patriots. Current Bears coach Lovie Smith was Martz’s defensive coordinator from 2001 to 2003.
Martz’s philosophy is big play offense to put it plain and simple. Kurt Warner thrived in his scheme passing for over 4,000 yards and 30 plus touchdowns in the Super Bowl years. Running back Marshall Faulk put up mind-boggling stats and accumulated over 2,000 all-purpose yards per year under the offense that became known as the “Greatest Show on Turf.”
Thru two games the Chicago Bears rank third in the league in passing. Jay Cutler has put up excellent numbers averaging close to 325 yard per game, five touchdowns, and only one interception. Bears fans are to aware of Cutler’s interception problems last year and with only one interception on sixty four attempts this year he is thriving in Martz’s offense with a quarterback rating 121.2 as well. Cutler is projected to accumulate over 5,000 yards passing and over 40 touchdowns. Ironically Martz criticized Cutler last season while working as an analyst for the NFL Network.
The rushing game has been stale as the Chicago Bears are twenty ninth in the league. Matt Forte had a good rookie season overall but regressed last year with a yards per carry average of only 3.6. Thru two games he has accumulated only 79 yards on 27 carries averaging 2.9 yards per carry. What Forte has excelled under Martz in is the passing game. Martz has spread Forte out as a wide receiver in offensive sets and he has exploded for 188 yards receiving on twelve receptions and three touchdowns.
Basically Martz is running a spread offense for the Bears. It is common in college football but uncommon in the pros. The Patriots are another team that runs the spread. Wes Welker is thriving in that scheme and Tom Brady is excellent at identifying defensive match ups and quickly getting rid of the football. Martz runs seven-step-drops so it is essential that any quarterback that plays in his system have a quick release, which Cutler has. The downside is that it exposes the quarterback to big hits.
The Bears need more balance on offense to be legitimate contenders in the NFC. The lack of production in the running game needs to be addressed and fixed. Come November defensive coordinators will scheme to stop the passing game so it is vital that the run blocking scheme become better so that Matt Forte and Chester Taylor can be productive. Left tackle Chris Williams has to be healthy as well. With a history of injuries it can be a big blow to the success of the offense since he is one of the best offensive lineman.
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