Shepkowski: Martz Holding Bears Offense Back
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By Nick Shepkowski-
(CBS) Everyone in the city of Chicago knows the Bears need to add a go-to wide reciever in order for their offense to be taken seriously. Sticking with guys like Johnny Knox, Devin Hester and Earl Bennett in a division that features Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver amongst other stud recievers is nothing short of embarrassing.
Many Bears fans are also well aware of free agent Sidney Rice and his abilities as he pulled down 83 balls for 1312 yards and eight touchdowns for the hated Vikings in 2009, before missing much of last season with a hip injury. Anyone in their right mind would tell you a receiver like Rice would only benefit Jay Cutler and the Bears offense and only make them better.
Adding to Bears fans’ hopes of landing a guy like Sidney Rice is the fact that the Bears have done the unthinkable and traded for the biggest name quarterback available and signed the biggest name free agent in the last two off-seasons.
Even with all of this, Bears fans shouldn’t get too excited over Sidney Rice, or most free agent wide receivers for that matter.
Its not because the McCaskey’s are going back to being cheap, but instead because offensive coordinator Mike Martz has too much power in choosing his personnel.
Martz enjoys having small and quick wideouts on his offense, something that brought success to St. Louis with the likes of Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Ricky Proehl among others. That combination worked great in 1999 bringing a Super Bowl to the Rams but has only declined since.
Since Martz prefers the speedier and smaller guys, you can cross Rice off the list of potential free agents the Bears sign once free agency opens up. While you’re at it, you can cross Braylon Edwards, Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Mike Williams, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss’ names off the list as well.
Instead, with the power Martz has, the Bears will have to attempt to sign any of the likes of Santonio Holmes, Steve Smith (NYG), Santana Moss, Donte Stallworth and Steve Breaston.
With Holmes and Smith both likely staying put in New York, that list really gets your blood flowing, doesn’t it?
Amazing how an offensive coordinator who guided the Bears to the 30th ranked offense in the league a year ago remains with so much power.
Martz remains with that power even after his most desired signing a year ago, tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, was nothing short of pathetic. He’ll now make sure the Bears pick from that second and less impressive list of receivers once free agency begins, instead of the previous.
I prefer to have an offensive coordinator or any coach for that matter who adjusts his play-calling and game planning for the talent he has, not a coach that demands certain types of players and comes up short with them.
Can you imagine Mike Martz lasting with the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers in demanding only certain kinds of players? He’d be laughed out of town before one could blink.
Yes, both of those teams — who happen to be football’s finest franchises over the last decade — have systems, but they don’t stop short of bringing stars in because they aren’t perfect matches for the said systems.
It would only be beneficial for the Bears offense if they entered the 2011 season with a big wide receiver signing like Sidney Rice or even Mike Williams for that matter. Be warned, however, Bears fans, as any signing of a receiver with a bigger name than Steve Breaston would come as a major surprise.