There was an interesting revelation with his offense, a big rumor was put to rest with this revelation but it also shifted the question over to a different aspect of the offense and what exactly needs to happen.
The first bit the conversation focused on the Lovie Smith running offense and the over used cliche that has become the obsession of fans and media; get off the bus running. Martz addressed this aspect head on stating:
"Well we want to be as efficient as we can, the whole philosophy of our offense is we want to take control of the tempo of the game and control the tempo of how that game is supposed to be played. If we do things well with the things that we do that happens. The things with the formations, the shifts, the tempo, we'd like to get that ball snapped with 15 seconds left on the (play) clock if at all possible. What that does is it puts the defense on their heals, and take the tempo and speed it up and make them defend the entire field. I think obviously Lovie feels the same way."
Regarding Lovie Smith's cliche of getting off the bus running Martz stated his understanding of that philosophy or cliche to be:
"I think Lovie is talking about the physical aspect of the game, and obviously it's hard to be physical in terms of the pass block because you're going backwards. But putting your hand in the ground and coming up and hitting them in the mouth, and being a physical team is also a part of what we do."
Based on that comment I think it's safe to assume that Martz still wants to do a lot of the same things he's used to on offense and won't allow his offense to be dictated by Smith.
Mike Martz wants to be very aggressive on offense, way more aggressive than Ron Turner ever was with his philosophy and perhaps more aggressive than Lovie Smith has been accustomed to.
Martz is correct though in his philosophy of wanting to be aggressive on offense because it helps to keep the Bears' defense off the field. Way too often whether it was Turner's call or Smith's call the Bears played a conservative defensive game where they wanted to let the defense win the game for them.
Examples of this philosophy in effect come from Smith being more willing to kick off when they won the coin toss rather than receive. Smith wanted his defense out there to set the tempo, his defense to make the plays, his defense to set the tone of the game. When the Bears wind up facing a second and long Smith will prefer to call a run play and then a screen then punt the ball away and let his defense be responsible for setting up the field position the Bears like.
I have never been a big proponent of the type of offensive philosophy that Smith employs even when the Bears were very strong on defense. It tends to put way too much pressure on the defense, they tend to wear down and tire to quickly and it gives most good quarterbacks a lot of chances to succeed by allowing them to always be on the attack.
The second part of the interview talks about Martz's success in St. Louis and how a lot of that success was because Martz had Adam Timmerman and Orlando Pace, two solid and consistent players, players that were stalwarts on the line for the Rams, players that helped their offense be as successful as it was.
Martz is again straight forward in his answer about what it will take for this offense to be successful:
"I think the success of any football team starts with the offensive line, I don't care who you are. You know you mentioned two of them, the other three was big Freddie Miller (former Bears right tackle) who was a late round pick and was a guard before I got there. They had really thought well maybe he can't play. Their center was Mike Gruttadauria 285-pounds and Tommy Newton played left guard and he just had his neck fused and had just got back from (NFL) Europe and had never played in the NFL. Those three guys more or less could have been considered pick up guys. But you can say now that those three ended up playing exceptionally well for us."
"The two that you mentioned Timmerman and Big-O (Orlando Pace) were of course Pro Bowl guys, but these other three were journeymen guys that stepped up to the plate and played at a high level. I absolutely feel like that's the situation here there's enough talent here to be successful in the offensive line and do what we need to do."
This is an exceptional statement by Martz in that he makes the point about the other three offensive linemen being sort of off the scrap heap of the NFL or players that a lot of people essentially stated couldn't play or wouldn't be up to the challenge of success in the NFL.
Also of note Timmerman wasn't a Pro Bowl player consistently throughout his career, he was only a Pro Bowl player for one year in 2001. He was however a consistent player that played at a solid level and didn't make a lot of mistakes. The only real consistent Pro Bowl player was Orlando Pace, who is obviously a future hall of fame player.
While I wouldn't consider Chris Williams capable of being a player on the same level as Orlando Pace, his talent level makes it possible to suggest he could be a Pro Bowl player, could be a great player in the NFL for a number of years. He is certainly capable of being the anchor on this offensive line for the next decade. He also looked a lot more comfortable manning the LT spot than the RT spot a position he hadn't played at any point during his young career, and a move made out of necessity with the signing of Orlando Pace. Although I don't suspect Williams will be a Pro Bowl player this year, I don't put it out of the realm of possibility because the players ahead of Williams aren't exactly big time OTs who consistently dominate the Pro Bowl roster or have placed themselves ahead of everyone else in the NFL.
The rest of the offensive line played well together in their final set starting rotation of the season. Williams, Omiyale, Kreutz, Garza and Shaffer. The main question will be can Tomlin get better results out of this group and will Omiyale improve greatly from year one to year two or will there be a place for the possibly promising Lance Louis. Arguably there are three players on the Bears offensive line that play at a high enough and a consistent enough level for this offense to be successful. The expectation will be that even though Kreutz is old, that the nagging heal injury he had being healed may help him to get another year or two of productive play. Roberto Garza at the very least is a consistent enough starter at the RG position that he provides the balance and leadership for the rest of the line.
It remains to be seen the level of production this O-Line has together with Tomlin coaching them, that may be the key to all of this.
The next aspect of the interview focuses on Martz developing his relationship with Jay Cutler. How the chemistry between Martz and Cutler will be so important to the overall success of the team this year. On this subject Martz had quite a bit to say:
"Well I think the biggest deal with that is it's such a big thing to have the quarterback and the quarterback on the same page. If there's kind of ill will or ill feeling or philosophically you're not on the same page I don't care who it is, it's not going to work. As talented as he is it's important that he understands that whomever is going to run the offense is about and what they wanna do, and of course I have to have a good feeling about him. So I thought that was a good get acquainted meeting, we hit it off immediately. There's a real strong connection, at least I felt that way immediately and intellectually he is just off the charts. I think his talent can never be over stated, I think he's an exceptional talent. He is really anxious and he's all about winning and doing things the right way."
I think the most important thing here is Martz's humble attitude about having the chance to work with Cutler by stating there has to be a mutual importance and respect between coach and player. I think he quietly addressed what was brought up after the week one where he criticized his demeanor after the Green Bay game. I think the ill feeling comment covers that small bit of controversy from "the coaches show" that arose. I'm sure Cutler has pretty thick skin and he has dealt with plenty of much bigger questions about his character with the trade fiasco.
Martz I think sees the promise that Cutler has, I think it's hard NOT to see the promise that Cutler has nor is it out of line for Martz to state essentially the obvious, you can't overstate the talent that Cutler does have. He is one of the most talented QBs in possibly the last decade. The question is whether or not Martz and Cutler working together, will they be able to maximize that talent and win a lot of football games together. Will Cutler be able to play within the complexity of Martz's offense?
The focus of the interview then shifts to the question of how will Greg Olsen be utilized within this offense. There's obviously been great concern that Olsen will be under utilized in this offense. I think this aspect of the debate revolving around Martz has been blown out of proportion and the answer Martz give is a pretty cliche answer. The Bears will play to the strength of their offense and Martz has obviously never had a talent like Olsen to work with. He's also going to whatever it takes to succeed and that means getting the ball to Olsen.
From there it turns to the wide receivers and who amongst the receivers can be the biggest star, who can be the main guy within the offense, the play maker. This one is even slightly more cliche in it's context when Martz states:
"I think they all can (be successful or be a star), I can't pick one I really can't I'm excited about all of them. I'm really excited about Knox, Hester Bennett, all these guys are just gonna have great opportunities a number of opportunities to excel. I think this is going to be an outstanding group I think this can wind up being a strength of this team, I think there's a lot of speed out there."
To a small extent I agree with Martz I think the receivers in Turner's offense were very under utilized or went utilized in the best way for the Bears to succeed. There is a lot of untapped and promising potential in Johnny Knox, he's only going to get better from year one to two and he's going to have a chance to make a lot of plays. Knox will also be placed in better situations to get open and then make plays in the open field. Same goes with Hester obviously he showed some flashes of improvement as well. No there's not a Torry Holt in this group, Holt is likely a future hall of fame candidate. The Bears just need consistent play from all three of the main receivers, arguably a fourth depending how well Aromashodu comes on from this point forth.
The next aspect of the interview is where the biggest revelation form Martz comes. Martz's offense was criticized by some(one) for allegedly not having hot routes or sight adjustments. That the play called is the only way it should be executed and there is no flexibility to the offense.
Martz immediately dismissed the hot routes and sight adjustment information by stating emphatically that his offense is built around those two fundamentals. He feels like they invented the hot route and that with all the motion they run followed by the pressure that defenses like to brincg, typically more rushers than blockers that they absolute have to run hot routes.
The next big revelation came from the standpoint that Martz states "there are no audibles within this offense, and so if you don't audible what do you have to do?" The answer comes from the host "hot routes and sight adjust." So the Bears won't be running audibles out of this offense only making sight adjustments and then calling for hot routes based on what they are seeing the defense do.
Finally to really wrap up the interview a comment is made about getting of the bus throwing and Martz wraps up the interview the best way possible.
"We're going to do what it takes to win, where ever this offense takes us whether it's running the ball 40-times a game or whatever. You do what it takes to win."
Martz was pretty emphatic on that doing what it takes to win point, which is what is going to have to happen for the Bears to win games with Lovie Smith at the helm, to make it to the playoffs, that ultimate and must have achievement for 2010.