Monday, February 1, 2010
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.