Tice as offensive coordinator a risky call

Tice as offensive coordinator a risky call
February 8, 2012, 9:57 pm
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Now that it looks like Mike Tice will have total control of the Bears offense and the plays that are called, it brings up an interesting debate. Why did the Bears decide against a passing game coordinator, especially when Tice has never been involved in previous NFL passing games?

Let's be clear, if you think calling plays is about picking a call off a play sheet, you are wrong. Dead wrong.

A good coordinator or play caller is as valuable or more than a head coach, hence the seven figure annual salaries most coordinators are hauling in these days.

A good coordinator in the NFL MUST have a great feel for the passing game. We can all call runs to the right, and runs to the left.

Designing a passing attack and knowing when to call the plays is an art. There is a reason some guys remain coordinators for several years in the league and others are one and done guys or never get the chance.

Play design: knowing the looks your offense will get in each area and situation on the field, coming out of end zone, middle of field, red zone and goal line.

That includes what look you get from each hash mark and with the ball in middle of the field. How do they lineup against each personnel group that you use? What coverages do you get in each area of field against those personnel groupings? (Groupings are the five guys outside of offensive line and QB since they are on field for every play, such as: 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE -- or 3 WR, 2 TE -- or 4 WR, 1 RB etc...)

Now what play will work against any anticipated look? Will you get straight man, zone or a combo coverage or one of any other hundred looks? Are you trying to pull a linebacker over to open a zone, run guys across field to beat man, use play action to open area between backers and safeties, pull a safety out of hole, create a high low read on the corner (if corner drops deep, you throw to flat, if corner sits on flat you throw behind him)?

Knowing how to beat coverages and anticipating when to call plays is something that is learned. Sometimes you call a play early in a game against a certain formation just to see the look you will get. Later in the game, you remember the look (coverage) and call a play that you know should beat it. Understanding how to set up plays is what good coordinators can do. They beat you in a chess game.

The Bears are betting Mike Tice can win in the chess game, even though it's not how he made his name as a coach. It's worth pointing out most offensive coordinators have served as quarterbacks or receivers coaches because they are the two positions that are heavily involved in the passing game and understand coverages and play design.

It's not to say what the Bears are doing won't work, but it's certainly a risky road to travel.