Lovie Smith passed on chance to make stand for Mike Martz

Lovie Smith talked about heading in the right direction on Monday when he assessed the end of the 8-8 season for the Chicago Bears, but he couldn’t give any definitive answers for his offensive coordinator.

The arrow is pointing up for the team, per Smith, but he can’t say who his play caller will be in 2012 right now, fueling speculation he will sever ties with longtime friend Mike Martz, who has been the offensive coordinator for two seasons.

Smith said he needs to go through a “process” in evaluating the season, and said he was yet to meet with Martz or the franchise’s upper management, including general manager Jerry Angelo and chairman of the board George McCaskey. It could be an announcement comes soon. While Smith fired his previous offensive coordinator Ron Turner the day after the 2009 season, he waited two days to launch Terry Shea following the 2004 season.

“We did a lot of good things offensively,” Smith said. “But right now we’re evaluating everything. Mike’s a part of that. Mike is a guy that’s been around a few years. Got to have a chance to sit down with Mike to see exactly which way he wants to go and which way we want to go.”

Martz, 60, is coming out of contract but has made it clear he would like to return. The Bears have been inconsistent in two seasons under Martz, allowing 105 sacks in the process. The Bears did rush for 2,015 yards, eclipsing 2,000 for only the second time since 1990.

“Mike did a super job for us,” Smith said. “We had a lot of injuries this year. I think you guys know how I feel about him, but this is a new year coming up so we'll see how that goes.”

We should get a better feel for exactly how Smith feels about him soon.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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