10:19 AM EDT, August 18, 2011
Bears interim offensive coordinator Mike Martz said Jay Cutler will play more against the Giants on Monday night than he did in last week’s exhibition opener, blocking permitting.
And hey, new NFL rule: Blocking is permitted.
Honest. True fact. Stop the presses. Offenses aren’t required to give up, oh, I don’t know, nine sacks to the stinkin’ Bills.
Martz said only three of the nine sacks were the fault of the offensive line. He wouldn’t lay blame for the other six.
So, I guess we’re free to suspect some of them are the result of the offensive coordinator calling pass plays the offense still can’t execute.
Fitting, then, that the Bears head back to the Meadowlands, where only last year Cutler got the Jimmy Hoffa treatment with nine sacks and a concussion as a lovely parting gift.
A lot of Martz’s calls in the exhibition opener looked like the stuff the Bears couldn’t block last season. Cutler immediately was forced to scramble for his very life. No wonder Martz said he was giddy about Cutler’s footwork this year. You need quick feet when you’re standing behind a rolling tollway of an offensive line and other blockers who can’t seem to get in the way of the opponent closest to them.
Last year’s similar disaster resulted in aliens’ snatching Martz’s brain and replacing it with a balanced offense.
Hey, can we see that again? Can we see something that helps a new offensive line look unified instead of exposing its lack of unity?
Roberto Garza is a veteran, but he’s new to starting at center here. Right tackle Gabe Carimi is new to the league, period. Left tackle J’Marcus Webb is new to intensity and maturity, apparently. Lance Louis is new to keeping the right guard job he lost a year ago.
Martz said he “expects remarkable improvement over the next few weeks from that group.’’
“Expects’’ remarkable improvement or “hopes and prays’’?
I know it’s only one game, but the lack of offseason requires changes and tradeoffs, but it doesn’t appear as if one of the tradeoffs is Martz helping his offense.
Early in camp, Martz said he expected the Bears to pick up where they left off last season. Yes. Well. Ahem. That was a balanced offense. But Martz is back to favoring a preponderance of passing plays, which is not where the Bears left off last season. Martz should know this. It was in all the papers.
I understand Martz’s calling pass plays to see what part of his expired scheme his offense can block. The early answer: not much. Again
Which is the opposite of the early answer on handicapping Martz’s stubbornness and arrogance. That becomes particularly problematic when Mike Tice is force-feeding continuity among his offensive line instead of playing blocker roulette the way he did last year.
Seems to me, it would make sense to call the offense in exhibition games that you plan to call in real games.
I don’t want to hear about coaches hiding things from regular-season opponents during the exhibition season. It doesn’t apply to these Bears. In fact, it’s a stupid concept for these Bears. These Bears are not good enough to hide anything.
I mean, what could they hide when they don’t have any idea what they can execute in anything more intense than a practice?
First-string quarterback handing off to the first-string tailback, who picks a hole behind the first-string line and gets some blocks from the first-string tight ends and receivers. That’s what the Bears should be calling now because that’s what they’re going to be calling eventually. Guaranteed.
The offensive line certainly would look better moving forward instead of tap-dancing backward and yelling “Watch out!’’ Cutler’s life would be spared. Matt Forte, if he has an interest in playing tackle football the way his contract currently stipulates, and Marion Barber could neuter the aggressiveness of greedy pass rushers.
And then the passing game becomes more potent. A successful running game gives a quarterback what we in my country call “time.’’ One phase helps the other, and also helps the defense rest by extending drives. Crazy, huh, Mike?
A coach's biggest crime is not putting his players in position to succeed. Martz appears to be a repeat offender.