Mike Martz: Bears’ offense will come around
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com September 28, 2011 10:20PM
Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz said he won’t simplify the offense. | Nam Y. Huh~AP
Updated: November 11, 2011 5:14PM
The Bears’ offensive struggles in a 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers last week elicited an avalanche of criticism of Mike Martz and his vaunted but heretofore disappointing offense. But Martz remains convinced the Bears are closer than they look to becoming the offensive threat they hoped to be this season.
After three weeks, the Bears are 27th in the NFL in total offense, 31st in rushing, 17th in passing and are tied for first in sacks allowed with 14.
‘‘We just missed some things [against the Packers] we normally make,’’ Martz said Wednesday after practice. ‘‘There were some plays — and there were a lot of them — where you make one here, you make one there and it’s a different game. You have to make those plays against good teams. We’ll do that.’’
With the Bears 1-2 and the Packers and Lions both 3-0 in the NFC North, the Bears might not have as much time to ‘‘clean things up’’ as they would like. They play the Carolina Panthers (1-2) on Sunday at Soldier Field, then face the Lions on Oct. 10 at Ford Field on “Monday Night Football.”
While the Bears have several issues on offense, it all starts with the offensive line. Right guard Lance Louis, who has missed the last two games with a calf injury, participated fully in practice Wednesday and could start against the Panthers. But even if he does, it will give the Bears their fourth different offensive line in four games.
After allowing six sacks against the Saints, the Bears allowed three against the Packers as Jay Cutler threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns. But the running was abysmal: Matt Forte gained two yards on nine carries. The Bears know they can’t win if they don’t get the running game going.
‘‘We have to, and we will,’’ Martz said. ‘‘That’s one thing we can do — we can run the football. We’ll get that right.’
‘‘One thing we’ve done a nice job of is we’ve eliminated the mental errors,’’ offensive line coach Mike Tice said. ‘‘If you keep plodding along and keep working it and cleaning it up, I think it eventually comes around. I don’t have any lack of faith that we’ll be able to run the ball efficiently [even] if we have our sixth or seventh guy in there. I don’t think that’s going to make a difference.’’
Though the offense looks out of sync, Martz said he wouldn’t consider simplifying things.
‘‘No, no. That’s probably the worst reaction you could have,’’ he said. ‘‘You’re telling them you don’t have confidence in their ability. When you say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to start over,’ you’re saying, ‘You’re not good enough to do these things.’ And that’s not the case at all.’’
Asked if he was confident in his pass protection, Cutler probably put the entire situation in the best perspective.
‘‘Yeah. I don’t have a choice,’’ he said. ‘‘Those are the guys we’ve got to go with, and we’ve got to get them ready and I’ve got to believe in them. So at the end of the day, they’re going to do the best possible job they can for me.’’