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Lovie goes with Tice that binds

New offensive coordinator Mike Tice says Bears will be strong running team with mix explosive pass plays. | AP

New offensive coordinator Mike Tice says the Bears will be a strong running team with a mix of explosive pass plays. | AP

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Updated: February 8, 2012 8:11AM



In classic fashion, Mike Tice highlighted one of his strengths with a self-deprecating shot.

“I have been organized my whole life,” Tice said via e-mail, “because I am not smart.

“Details are the key. We need to detail everything out. Have a play for every situation. And have a way to get out of all bad plays.”

Those are welcome words from the Bears’ new offensive coordinator, given the number of plays that appeared doomed to fail as soon as the ball was snapped.

Coach Lovie Smith promoted Tice only three days after announcing Mike Martz wouldn’t return.

“[Tice] has been a valuable member of our staff over the past two years and has an excellent track record in the NFL,” Smith said. “He was very impressive in his job interview [Thursday] and shares the same vision I have for our offense moving forward.

“We want to be a strong running team with a big-play pass attack.”

Tice will call plays, and he’ll have an active role with the offensive line. But the Bears still plan to hire an offensive line coach as well as a quarterbacks coach who will be consulted on the passing offense.

According to a league source, the Bears are trying to hire Tennessee Titans quarterbacks coach/ passing-game coordinator Dowell Loggains to be the team’s quarterbacks coach. Loggains knows quarterback Jay Cutler from their time together at Vanderbilt. At the time, Loggains was an administrative assistant.

But Loggains is under contract with the Titans, another league source said, and he’s valued by the organization.

It would be a lateral move — with Tice calling plays — so the Titans ultimately can determine whether to hold Loggains to his contract or not.

Despite some injuries in his first season with the Titans, Matt Hasselbeck was 16th with an 82.4 passer rating.

As for offensive line coaches, one of the most respected available is Bill Callahan, the former coach of the Oakland Raiders and Nebraska Cornhuskers. Since 2008, he has been the offensive line coach of the New York Jets.

But the Bears might be inclined to hire a younger line coach they can groom.

Tice, a quarterback in high school and college who played tight end for 15 seasons in the NFL from 1981 to ’95, was the Minnesota Vikings’ coach from 2002 to ’05 but never had the title of offensive coordinator. He did call plays during his tenure as head coach.

By hiring him, Smith ensured some continuity because Tice knows the team’s offensive personnel and is philosophically grounded in two fundamentals that seemed to be low priorities for Martz — protecting the quarterback and establishing a running game.

Tice, 52, who received a contract extension in 2011 after the Bears turned down the Titans’ request for permission to talk to him about their offensive-coordinator opening, indicated his philosophy as coordinator will contrast significantly from Martz’s.

“Lovie and I share a similar mind-set of what the Bears’ offense should look and feel like,” Tice said in a statement. “There will be a toughness about us. We are going to be a powerful run team, and we’re going to be able to mix in explosive pass plays.’’

Contributing: Mark Potash



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