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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back to Cold, Ugly, Brutal Reality.

I wish I could hate you to death

That was fun, wasn't it? For a few months we were winners. The world was our oyster and we went along with Breesus and the Saints for a magical ride that gave me a chance to slip away from the depressing nature of my existence and be a champion. But that's over now. It's back to being Bears fans, and that of course means back to being Pissed Off Bears Fans. So to get this place back on track (I'm not actually going to post all of that much until the draft gets nearer. February and March are bad months to run a football blog, and I'm not going to bother with Cubs coverage this year, I'm not good at it and there are much better places where you can get much better coverage), here are some thoughts on Bears-centric news from recent weeks-

1. Mike Martz is the offensive coordinator- Obviously I'm opposed to this move. Like, really, really opposed to this move. But I was far too optimistic in thinking that the Bears had a shot at any legitimately promising offensive coordinator prospects this offseason. No one wants to take these jobs, because any betting man knows Lovie, and probably his whole staff, is gone after the season. It's not, however much that hack Mike Florio wants you to believe it is, about people not wanting to coach Jay Cutler.

That doesn't make this a good move, though. Martz will do some terribly stupid shit. I'm also sure that in order to get hired he had to promise Lovie he'd still get off the bus running and would try to remember that tight ends are eligible pass catchers and not just fat Hawaiians you draft for your own amusement (see Manumaleuna, Brandon), meaning we'll get some half-assed version of the Martz offensive that ditches all of the effectiveness while retaining the sacks and turnovers. Oh, joy. Seriously, if you aren't some delusional homer you should probably just start (if you haven't already) gearing yourselves up for a horrible fucking season and make it your number one priority to pray to Jesus, Allah, Buddha, L. Ron Hubbard, Cthulu, Gozer, Krishna, Atheismo, or Vin Diesel so they'll spare Cutler's life.

2. Rod Marinelli is promoted to defensive coordinator- If you're a moron like Mike Florio and you think Cutler was the reason no one would take the offensive coordinator job, how do you explain the total FAIL at hiring a defensive coordinator? Perry Fewell, whom Lovie thought for sure would take the job, decided to go to a team with actual defensive talent and left the Bears scrambling for options, and the one they took was naturally the cheapest and most retarded one out there.

If there's one thing this team needed it was someone who could change the defensive scheme and mentality. I'm not someone to generally overrate a coordinator's impact on a unit's effectiveness, but defensive coordinators can sometime's make sweeping defensive improvements with only modest personnel changes (see Williams, Gregg or Capers, Dom). Instead we get the only person somehow More likely to do exactly what Lovie wants on defense than Lovie himself. This is going to suck. All offseason we heard (and I swallowed that bullshit the same as you did), that Marinelli just hadn't been prepared to go from a defensive line coach to a head coach, and that putting him back into the very-specific job that he'd been so effective in would work wonders for him and the team. The defensive line was still absolute shit, so Marinelli got a promotion. Fuck my life.

3. Gaines Adams is dead- I don't wish to make light of this story by making it about football, and that's probably why I didn't post much when it happened. A 26 year old kid is dead and it doesn't get much sadder than that. Obviously we barely knew him, and who knows what might have happened in the future had he been able to start for the team next year like they intended. There's no denying, however, that his death puts the team in even more of a bind regarding their plans for free agency and what few draft picks they have left. Ogunleye is a potential free agent, and he's going to want a raise, even though he doesn't deserve it, in order to re-sign with the team. They can either pay him more to continue his decline or they can take a chance on starting a third round draft pick at defensive end, even though that pick would be better used on an offensive lineman. This just sucks no matter which way you look at it.

4. There are no draft picks, the offensive line sucks, the defensive line sucks, the secondary sucks, the linebacker corps is mediocre at best, oh god damnit they're looking at signing Torry Holt? - Oh God. Why did I come back? I'm not fucking ready for this shit.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mike Martz Would Utterly Freaking Destroy Jay Cutler

UPDATE: They did it. They finally really did it. YOU MANIACS! YOU HIRED MIKE MARTZ! Ah, damn you! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!

A couple days ago a rumor posted briefly over at Bleacher Report stated that Mike Martz would be the next offensive coordinator for the Bears, and frankly, I shit my pants. Why? Well, Mike Martz would absolutely be the end of Jay Cutler's career. I'm not the only person saying this, his own former GM in St. Louis, Charlie Armey, has said the very same thing in recent days. Why, exactly, Martz would ruin Cutler may take some time to explain. I'm willing to give it a shot, so here's why Mike Martz' offense is a terrible, terrible thing to throw Jay Cutler into:

1. Schematically, it's very similar to Ron Turner's offense- The Martz scheme and Turner's offense were both variants of the Air Coryell offense. Granted, Turner puts the emphasis on the run game and Martz focuses on the pass, but the terminology and the routes are all very similar. If Jay truly dislikes the scheme, than that's a bad move to begin with.

2. Jay Cutler would get pummeled into oblivion, and probably die on the field- The Bears offensive line absolutely fucking sucks. No one denies this fact. You know who didn't have a bad offensive line? The Rams, from 1999-2005. They had the young, good Orlando Pace, as well as a young Fred Miller and several other quality players over the years. Yet they still gave up an average of 43 sacks a year. Martz' Detroit teams gave up 114 sacks in two years under Martz' direction, despite the fact that the Lions had given up just 31 sacks the year before Martz took over, and his 2008 49ers squad gave up a whopping 55 sacks. All in all that's an average of 42.8 sacks per year. The Bears gave up 35 sacks this year, and that seemed awful to all of us.

Why is it that Martz' teams give up such a ludicrous number of sacks each year despite the relatively high quality of his offensive lines? Because Martz' emphasis on throwing deep at all costs frequently encourages his quarterbacks to hold onto the ball and get hammered. Given the terrible suckitude of the Bears offensive line, I don't see any possibility of Cutler getting sacked fewer than 50 or 60 times in a Martz led offense, assuming he's standing long enough to take that many hits.

3. No, seriously, Jay Cutler would die- In 10 seasons as an offensive coordinator or Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, Martz has had a quarterback start all 16 games in a season just 4 times (ironically, one of those 16 game starters was Kurt Warner in 1999, who had to take over after the original starter, Trent Green, was sacked and broke his leg in a preseason game). Broken down:

1999- Kurt Warner- 16 games started, 29 sacks (not too bad)

2000- Kurt Warner- 11 games started, 20 sacks (not good), Trent Green- 5 games started, 24 sacks (absolutely fucking terrible)

2001- Kurt Warner- 16 games started, 38 sacks (fantastic by Martzian standards)

2002-Kurt Warner- 6 games started, 21 sacks (awful, awful), Marc Bulger- 7 games started, 12 sacks (still bad), Jamie Martin- 2 games started, 10 sacks (holy shit).

2003- Marc Bulger- 15 games started, 37 sacks (pretty terrible), Kurt Warner- 1 game started, 6 sacks (Jesus Christ!)

2004- Marc Bulger- 14 games started, 41 sacks (awful), Chris Chandler- 2 games started, 7 sacks (seriously, Chris? Someone as fragile as you signed with Mike Martz??), and Jamie Martin-played one half (after Chris Chandler had been knocked out of the game) and received 2 sacks.

2005- Marc Bulger- 8 games started, 26 sacks, Jamie Martin- 5 games started, 11 sacks, Ryan Fitzpatrick - 3 games started, 9 sacks

2006- Jon Kitna- 16 games started, 63 sacks (Have I made my point yet?)

2007- Jon Kitna- 16 games started, 51 sacks (I have some serious respect for Jon Kitna's ability to take a beating).

2008- Shaun Hill- 8 games started, 23 sacks (that's bad), JT O'Sullivan- 8 games started, 32 sacks (that's worse).

4. The system encourages turnovers- Jay Cutler is already far too much of a "gunslinger," if you will. This system would actually encourage that. Whereas the terrible run game and offensive line actually forced Turner to call a pass-heavy offense that led to a mounting pile of interceptions, Martz designs his game plan to do the same god damn thing. Outside of the miracle 1999 season, where Warner threw just 15 interceptions (the 7th fewest in the league), Martz offenses have typically ranked in the bottom five in the league in interceptions. The numbers:

1999- 15 interceptions, 7th in the league (going from fewest to most)
2000- 23 interceptions, 28th
2001- 22 interceptions, 24th
2002- 27 interceptions, 32nd
2003-23 interceptions, 31st
2004-22 interceptions, 28th
2005- 24 interceptions, 30th
2006-22 interceptions, 27th
2007- 22 interceptions, 30th
2008-19 interceptions, 26th.


5. The system abandons the run, often for no apparent reason- This is the most common criticism of Martz, and its completely valid. Martz offenses, throughout his 10 year OC/HC career, have had an average ranking of 27th in the league in terms of rushing attempts. This is despite the fact that Martz has had outstanding runningbacks like Marshall Faulk, Steven Jackson, and Frank Gore, and the fact that his offenses are generally effective at running the ball, since their average ranking in terms of yards per rush attempt is 14th. This basically meants that even if the Bears somehow fixed their offensive line in the offseason and improved the running game, Martz would still abandon the run and force Cutler to carry a disproportionate amount of the load on offense.

6. It's just not that great of an offense- When the Martz offense first hit the scene in 1999, it was outstanding, and it stayed that way for several years. But the fact is, just like most offenses, talent had far more to do with its success than the scheme itself. When Kurt Warner started all 16 games in a season, the Rams were 27-5 (0.844%) and made it to two Superbowls. In seasons where Kurt Warner didn't start 16 games the Rams were 44-36 (0.550%) and went just 1-3 in the playoffs (and didn't even go in 2002 and 2005). Martz' Lions and 49ers teams went just 17-31 in his three years as offensive coordinator for those teams.

I don't know who the Bears are going to hire as their next offensive coordinator. Ted Phillips shot down the rumor that it would be Martz. Jay Cutler wants Jeremy Bates, the current USC offensive coordinator and his former QB coach in Denver. I personally think that would be the best route to go, as someone that works well with the slightly temperamental quarterback would be better than Martz, who earlier this season said Cutler needed to "grow up". Just know that if Mike Martz does somehow end up with the job, I'll be getting drunk off my ass and toasting Jay Cutler's doomed career.