After a third straight disappointing season, fans wanted the McCaskeys to clean house. They wanted Ted Phillips, Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith fired. A billboard went up, petitions were created, a Fire Lovie Smith blog went up and fans called in to radio shows to voice their opinion on who the Bears should hire in their place.
If the McCaskeys gave into Bears fans sentiment, they wouldn't have been able to make noise during free agency. Instead of cleaning house, the McCaskeys put their faith in the current management and allowed them to right the ship.
When the Bears hired Mike Tice and Mike Martz, fans were still
skeptical and criticized the hirings. The fact is, Tice and Martz are
two former head coaches who are recognized to be one of the best at
their respective offensive specialty. Tice has always been considered to
be one of the best offensive line coaches in the league. Martz has
always been known for his offensive prowess.
Many criticized the Martz hiring by saying the Bears weren't able to
secure their first choice. Anyone who believes that is fooling
themselves. Martz was always the first choice. The job market in the NFL
was dry during the offseason. There weren't many offensive coordinator
and head coach openings and there were plenty of candidates. Why would
the Bears hire someone right away? By waiting to hire Martz, it allowed
the Bears to make the absolute best decision for the team.
The Tice and Martz hiring has already paid dividends. From the opening
whistle in Dallas, the Cowboys brought the heat to Jay Cutler. In the
process, Cutler was knocked down 9 times in the first 3 series and lost Chris Williams for the game. Tice inserted Kevin Schaeffer to
replace Williams but then moved Schaeffer to right tackle and moved
Frank Omiyale to left tackle. The in-game adjustment saved the ball game and
the Bears never looked backed. Cutler was protected for the entire game
and given time to pick apart the Cowboy defense.
While the Bears were making offensive line adjustments, Martz called a
play that changed the course of the game. He spread the field and Cutler
hit Greg Olsen for a 39 yard pitch and catch. That play forced the
Cowboys to lay off the blitz.
These in-game adjustments would have never been made if the Bears kept the old
coaching staff. Smith and his previous assistants were often criticized
for failing to make these adjustments during the game. Tice and Martz have
strong enough personalities and both are highly respected in what they
do. Tice and Martz will keep Smith accountable.