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Mike Martz explanins why big receivers don't matter to him

Bears coordinator doesn't see it as pressing need Brad Biggs

Print This July 14, 2011, 08:02 AM EST
12 Comments

For the longest time, Chicago Bears fans have longed for that big wide receiver who can stretch the field vertically and still go over the middle and make the tough receptions.

The Bears’ history at the position has been about as barren as it’s been at quarterback. Consider that since 1972, the team’s only Pro Bowl wide receiver was Marty Booker in 2002. That’s some kind of drought.

Those still seeking the big wide receiver are going to be disappointed in the latest explanation from offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who has a collection of 6-foot and under targets right now. When Martz directed the Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis, he did it with smaller receivers and the only big receiver that really jumps out who played for Martz during the last 11 years was Calvin Johnson in Detroit. Johnson was obviously drafted by ex-general manager Matt Millen.

Size doesn't make any difference," Martz told the Associated Press. "It makes absolutely no difference. With Matt (Forte) as a runner and our ability to run the ball, we get a lot of one-on-one coverage, and you have to have receivers that can beat corners one on one. And generally, the guys that can change direction and run fast -- those are the kinds of guys that you're looking for. If he's a big guy that can do all that, that's a rare find. A lot of times, those guys are more 5-10 guys.”

While that doesn’t rule out the Bears from pursuing Sidney Rice, Malcom Floyd or Plaxico Burress, Martz isn’t banging he drum for a big target. He’s banged the drum before, too, if you recall him pining for a veteran backup quarterback last summer.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Comments

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Wavy77
Jul 14, 2011
08:44 AM

I can't believe he's that stubborn. He has to realize where he's playing, and what players he's dealing with. Soldier Field has horrible footing and you will need more physical receivers sometimes under those conditions. Jay Cutler needs that jumpball guy to go up fighting for the ball. A lot of INTs last season came when Johnny Knox was out-maneuvered because of lack of physicality.

mIKE
Jul 14, 2011
08:46 AM

Martz's offense starts, or in Bears case, ends with oline. All the talk about small/big WRs doesn't matter if QB is on the ground.

bcbbc2202
Jul 14, 2011
09:27 AM

Martz shouldn't be the one making the decision on whether to get a big WR or not. He's stubborn and inflexible. Examples are plentiful: SB against NE: 8 drop in coverage constantly, Martz calls for pass plays, Cutler gets sacked 9 times, Martz calls 7 step drops. He needs somebody overseeing him and making big picture decisions.

bcbbc2202
Jul 14, 2011
09:28 AM

Martz shouldn't be the one making the decision on whether to get a big WR or not. He's stubborn and inflexible. Examples are plentiful: SB against NE: 8 drop in coverage constantly, Martz calls for pass plays, Cutler gets sacked 9 times, Martz calls 7 step drops. He needs somebody overseeing him and making big picture decisions.

Z
Jul 14, 2011
10:56 AM

It will be interesting to see if Martz can stay committed to running a balanced offense this year. I was surprised to see him run the ball as much as he did last season. Recent history suggests that he will revert back to his pass happy ways in the second year and wear out his welcome.

Z
Jul 14, 2011
11:31 AM

It will be interesting to see if Martz can stay committed to running a balanced offense this year. I was surprised to see him run the ball as much as he did last season. Recent history suggests that he will revert back to his pass happy ways in the second year and wear out his welcome.

BearMarket
Jul 14, 2011
12:51 PM

MM's reputation is being stubborn. But last year he changed the focus of the offense in mid-season when it was clear the O-line couldn't keep Cutler upright. But no one in Chicago believes he came to that decision on his own, which speaks to the decision-making issues. A "meeting of the minds" between MM, Lovie, and Tice pointed the O in the right direction given the personnel.

But, as the OC, he should have a big say in what personnel he gets. Last year he wanted and got a blocking TE and a veteran QB. I think if he knew Hanie a bit better he would have worked him in more and I fully expect that.

Remember, he didn't say size meant nothing. Everybody would like to have an Andre Johnson. But he does believe the only thing that matters for a WR is if he can beat a DB one-on-one.

Paulo
Jul 14, 2011
01:11 PM

The fact that he said that the model the bears had success with (balanced run/pass ratio) last year is the one they are going to keep and develop makes me a sigh with relief.
You don't mess with winning formulas. And Martz found the balance for THIS team.

In the Tribune version you can check the quote:

"They ran the ball more often, too, giving up 2.8 sacks per game after allowing 4.4 over the first seven weeks. Forte wound up with 1,069 yards rushing, and Martz said the model they followed in the second half is one they will continue to use.

"The biggest issue was the offensive line," he said. "When (Roberto) Garza came back (at right guard), it allowed us to run the ball. That whole side got established. The right tackle got his feet on the ground. We've got a great back. We want to mix this in there pretty good. We'll be kind of judicious in the passing game. It's a little bit different feel. Matt's ability as a runner is substantial. The offensive line, the biggest improvement was made in the run blocking which allowed us to do all those things."

And that is a BIG deal. People always assume martz will start passing like Crazy and deliberately killing QBs with 7-step drops.
Once the OL gets DECENT, i'm not saying AWESOME or All-pro Levels, but once that happens, this offense will take off.

I saw the other day Olsen and Knox explaining how Martz works.
He developed the Greatest Show on turf, because he had 3 wideouts with the characteristics to do it.
The bears don't have that. And what he does is design plays to put individual players in position to win games. And that is what he did all season.
They need to refine a lot of aspects of the game.
But think about this.
Cutler has Thrown 51 TDs in his first 2 seasons, and is already on the verge of surpassing many bears passing records (that are mediocre but to break almost all of them in 2 years is a good sign)

And ALL, i mean ALL good teams have one thing in common.
Stability, continuity. Of systems, coaches, and players.
If you keep chucking players they won't blossom, if you change coaches around all the time they won't be able to develop talent and so on.

So i think the bears will make steady progress. It won't be like people will be expecting (because in all honesty, those expectations are unrealistic)

But man, i am damn FINE with steady progress. Specially comparing to last seasons numbers.

BearMarket
Jul 14, 2011
01:40 PM

Expect a lot of talk from Halas Hall to center on Earl Bennett. Last year he led the league, quietly, as the best targeted WR, with no drops on more than 40 catches. MM loves him. He runs good routes, has great hands, and deals punishment with a great YAC. Last year he was hurt in training camp so MM didn't know him. But he does this year. And Cutler loves him too. They hooked up at Vandy to set reception records.

Johnny Z
Jul 14, 2011
02:10 PM

If BearMarket is right about Bennett, then they do not need another WR.

rogers
Jul 14, 2011
03:27 PM

MM is an idiot waiting to be a head coach again. Cant wait until he bolts. We will run the ball be cause they told him too! LOL
It's what we do in Chicago. No issues here and no story either! Come on guys, tell us something we don't know! :(

mcrann
Jul 14, 2011
04:09 PM

The receiver they are looking for is on the team. Greg Olsen. Look at the wr in New Orleans Marques Colston 6'5-225. He catches everything and i'll tell you Olsen has those same hands and I do believe he has more speed! Who needs a wide receiver in Chicago the Bear's need to cut some of this dead weight and get back to Bear football strong run game, stop the run, run the ball, play special teams run the ball.

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