Nearly four weeks after the Chicago Bears cleaned out the majority of the offensive coaching staff, Mike Martz has been hired.
It will be up to him to turn around an offense that has been average to moribund during the Lovie Smith era, and based on the comments made by team president Ted Phillips last month, it’s a last-ditch chance.
Martz will be the third offensive coordinator in seven seasons for Smith, replacing Ron Turner. He’s got to get things going with quarterback Jay Cutler, who led the league with 26 interceptions this past season.
General manager Jerry Angelo called hiring an offensive coordinator the most important move for the franchise since he tabbed Smith to run the show in 2004. Martz interviewed with club officials on Friday, had dinner with Cutler the next night in Nashville, Tenn., and was chosen over Kevin Rogers, the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterbacks coach.
It was a long and winding process. The Bears were rebuffed at first. Jeremy Bates turned down a chance to interview for the job. The Green Bay Packers denied permission for them to meet with Tom Clements. Ken Zampese and Rob Chudzinski interviewed for the job. Hue Jackson turned the Bears down for an interview chance. Then, the Bears got to Rogers and Martz.
They chose the man with the more polished resume, with a proven track record for making passing offenses work. He’s got one year to fix things for his buddy Smith.
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