The world is full of compromise. And no one apparently hates it any more than Timothy Miller of Endwell, N.Y. Tim is apparently convinced that offensive coordinator Mike Martz is ruining the Bears franchise. How else do you explain the fact that he emailed not one, but two NFL writers asking if Martz has cast a spell over the team that will lead to its ultimate demise.
“Tim of Endwell, New York, writes: Do you think the Chicago Bears are giving Mike Martz too much power? With his influence on demanding a veteran quarterback last year, (Todd Collins) the miss-handling of playing time with Devin Aromashodu, and drafting quarterbacks in back to back years. With Martz’s track record with previous teams, it seems like he has a lot of influence even though he might not be here for too long.”
“I tend to look at it from another perspective. Martz’s skill as an offensive mind and quarterback teacher has never really been questioned. His downfalls in St. Louis, Detroit and San Francisco can be attributed more to personality clashes and philosophical differences. If you hire a coach like Martz and plan for him to be with you for more than a year, it’s best to treat him like an asset and hope he can leave a lasting impact on your franchise in a way many other coordinators could not.
This discussion would be more difficult if the Bears were using first and/or second-round draft picks to appease Martz. [Dan] LeFevour was drafted in the sixth round and [Nathan] Enderle in the fifth. I’m fine with the Bears using a late-round pick on the chance that Martz could accelerate development for a player at the most important position in the game. Even if [Jay] Cutler‘s presence means that Enderle will never start for the Bears, it’s not unheard of for NFL teams to develop and trade backup quarterbacks for draft picks far exceeding the value of where they were selected.”
Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune also answers Tim’s question:
“A team has to put a lot of faith in the person who is running the offense. The alternative is saddling that person with players he doesn’t believe in. You want the offensive coordinator to have ownership in the final product. How can the offensive coordinator buy in if management isn’t buying in to him? It’s especially important with a veteran coach who has had considerable success as Martz has. The Bears can’t concern themselves with how long Martz will or won’t be here. The future isn’t promised with any coach.”
Both explanations are true but in general terms I think Pompei gets closer to the heart of it.
The life of general manager Jerry Angelo isn’t an easy one. The problem with Martz is no different than the problem with head coach Lovie Smith, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, and to a lesser extent the rest of the coaches. Angelo has the unenviable job of trying to please all of them because he knows full well that you can’t ask a coach to work with a guy he doesn’t believe in. Not if you want to get optimal results.
Most fans would really like to see the personnel people have the strongest say about who is drafted. Perhaps they do. But there’s always going to be a question of who wanted which players because Angelo is constantly compromising. In the end, Angelo’s fate relies not just on the ability of these men to coach but on their ability to evaluate talent and extrapolate what they see to what will happen on a professional football field.
The bottom line is that Martz does have too much power. So does Smith and so do the rest of the coaches. But that’s the way of the world if you want it to be peaceful and well-run.