If we get nothing else out of new Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice, we will get a simple, common sense approach to his new job. That’s what I was able to extract from Brad Biggs’ latest piece on Jay Cutler’s new boss. It’s a 180 degree turn from Mike Martz, who showed more “mad” than “genius” in his 2-year run with the Bears.
Tice tells it like it is and seems open to the idea of empowering his players and taking what the front office gives him and trying to make the most out of it instead of taking his system and cramming down the players’ throats. Hit the jump to see some of the highlights and lowlights of Tice’s interview with Biggs.
On his offensive philosophy
“I am tailoring what I am doing to what I’ve done, which is common sense,” Tice said. “Why run it when they have one more guy than you can block? Why not throw it when you have free access and you have a guy who can beat single coverage?
“… To do that you have to have the ability to check at the line of scrimmage, you have to have the ability to have a short passing game. And then I’m a no-huddle guy and we don’t have no huddle. … I want to be able to go no huddle and change the rhythm offensively.”
Audibles? No huddle? Who does this guy think he is, Bill Walsh? Talk about innovation. Look out T-formation! Kidding aside, it seems so simple, yet these basic concepts seemed to elude Martz.
“The biggest strength we have is a quarterback who can make all the throws,” Tice said. “We text, we talk on the phone, almost daily. Extensive texting. He’s asking a lot of questions and I’m giving him straight up answers. He either likes the answers or he says, ‘Oh, OK,’ which means he doesn’t like some of the answers.
The only thing Tice didn’t seem to get across to Cutty is how to keep it wrapped up with his reality TV starlet.
On J’Marcus Webb
“Here is what I saw with him: Second-year player playing one side one year and one side another,” Tice said. “I thought he was adequate. His consistency grade was actually solid. What grade was bad was the critical errors, the sacks, penalties.
“… Well, if you’re not always in the deep drops, if you’re making sure the guy gets chip help from a back or a tight end and if you change the release point of the quarterback, you’re going to make him better already without making him better.
“And then you have an entire offseason (with) a chance to make him better there. He is a very good run blocker. Do I think he is a guy moving forward? Yes, I do unless some miracle happens and an elite first-round draft pick that we couldn’t pass up fell in our lap, which I doubt. Yeah, he’s our guy moving forward.”
Not exactly a vote of confidence for the big fella. More like a “we’ve got to try to make chicken salad out of chicken sh!t” approach, but at least he’s realist. Martz would have given you a “heavens no. We love J’Marcus..” type of answer.
On his biggest need
“If you’re going to take advantage of the box count and you’re going to get the ball to that guy with single coverage, you need a guy who is going to get open more than 90 percent of the time. We don’t have a guy who has stepped up, in my opinion, and shown us that ability. We either have to develop one who is in the building or we have to bring one in via the draft or free agency.
“There are three ways right there and the fourth is to put them in better positions to succeed. We’re going to do that.”
The big question is which route the Bears take to address the need for a legit wide receiver – draft or free agency. For me, I’d go both routes. I think they need a vet to make an immediate impact and a young stud to bring along. Making Bennett your #3 and Knox/Hester your 4th/5th receivers finally puts all the pieces in their rightful place. Plenty more on that from me.
Overall, I’d say Tice is saying all the right things. Now it’s a matter of getting actions to match his words. He needs a passing game coordinator to bring Cutler along and put the pieces together to make that no-huddle and his new wide receivers click together. He also needs some more talent. Let’s see if the Bears let him get the pieces to realize his vision.