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Search on for Bears offensive coordinator as Mike Martz resigns

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz watches pre-game warmup from field prior Chicago Bears 31-20 wover San Diego Chargers Sunday November

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz watches the pre-game warmup from the field prior to the Chicago Bears 31-20 win over the San Diego Chargers Sunday November 20, 2011 at Soldier Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 3, 2012 7:52PM



The firing of Jerry Angelo overshadowed what normally would have been the Bears story of the day: Mike Martz is out as Lovie Smith’s offensive coordinator.

The Bears announced Martz’s resignation Tuesday, citing ‘‘philosophical differences,’’ though that appears to be a technicality. ‘‘It was Lovie’s decision,’’ team president Ted Phillips said at a press conference at the auditorium at Halas Hall.

Martz’s resignation was not a big surprise. As the Sun-Times reported last month, an NFL source indicated Martz was unhappy that the Bears offered him a contract extension that did not include a raise over the $1 million salary he received in 2010 and 2011 — especially when offensive line coach Mike Tice was given a raise after the Bears turned down the Tennessee Titans request to interview him for their offensive coordinator’s position.

Quarterbacks coach Shane Day also will not return.

“After meeting with Mike this afternoon, we both felt it was best to move in different directions,” Smith said. “I appreciate the job he and Shane did for us over the last two years.”

Martz was hired after the 2009 season to replace Ron Turner — a move that was expected to maximize the presence of Jay Cutler at quarterback. But progress was slow for most of Martz’s two seasons with Cutler, who acclimated himself to Martz’s complicated offense at a laborious pace.

The Bears, who were 23rd in total yards and 19th in points in Turner’s final season, dropped to 30th in yard and 21st in points under Martz in 2010. They were 24th in yards and 17th in points this season.

Still, they were 17th in yards and sixth in points when Cutler suffered a broken thumb against the Chargers on Nov. 20. The offensive struggled with Caleb Hanie at quarterback, losing five consecutive games to fall out of playoff contention.

Phillips said Smith will hire the new offensive coordinator. Offensive line coach Mike Tice is a logical candidate to replace Martz, especially considering some prime candidates might not be willing to join a team with Smith on the hot seat under a new general manager in 2012.

This will be Smith’s fourth offensive coordinator and his third in the last four years.

“I have a lot of confidence in Lovie,’’ Phillips said. ‘‘We’ve talked about it already today and I think he’s going to [get the right guy]. None of us [is] perfect, we all have made mistakes. He’s going to correct it and I have complete confidence in his ability to do that.”



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