You cant fire me. I quit.
That was the statement effectively made mid-Tuesday as Mike Martz resigned as offensive coordinator, citing philosophical differences. Which would be more noteworthy if Martz werent already leaving anyway because he was without a contract for 2012.
Going with him is quarterbacks coach Shane Day following a year in which the assessment and play of Caleb Hanie as a backup was a disaster, and rookie Nathan Enderle never developed enough to even be active by week 17.
Martz created a firestorm around himself late this season when his camp began to put his name in play for other jobs, NFL and college. The lack of focus in a season that was in peril angered coach Lovie Smith and sealed his fate in Chicago.
The search will be on for a Martz successor, which may extend only as far as down the way at Halas Hall where offensive line coach Mike Tices office is. However, Tice was a pick of now-former GM Jerry Angelo in 2010, and Martz was brought in over Tice.
Bill Callahan is out of contract with the New York Jets, is a Chicagoan and also is considered one of the top offensive line coaches in the NFL. If Tice is elevated to Martzs job, Callahans roots in Chicago may be a pull.
But a concern of coaching candidates will be the unmistakable pressure Smith is under to win in 2012. This was a problem when Dick Jauron needed to replace Gary Crowton in 2001 and was left with John Shoop from his incumbent staff members. That works in Tices favor in a win-or-else year.
Martzs departure marks the third time since he has flopped with a defense-based head coach since leaving the St. Louis Rams. He was fired by Rod Marinelli in Detroit and Mike Singletary in San Francisco before getting a shot from Smith to return to the NFL.
The offense achieved some successes under Martz, who succeeded Ron Turner. But the past two seasons have been bumpy as Martz frequently went to his preferred downfield passing game and had to be reined in by Smith in both mid-2010 and again in early 2011 after eschewing offensive balance and going with game plans that were ill-suited for what his players could do.
On the personnel side, Martz pushed for signing a veteran backup in 2010, bringing in Todd Collins who proved to be more of a disaster than Hanie this year. The Bears also traded away tight end and former No. 1 pick Greg Olsen when it was determined that he was not deemed a fit for Martzs offense.