Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010
By John Mullin
Mike Martz intimated back in training camp that he wasnt sure he was up for another stint as the head coach of a National Football League team. He was 59 years old and coming off a year out away from the sidelines and three previous seasons of marginal success as an offensive coordinator.
Now, while hes not campaigning, and there will be jobs open this offseason as in any, if the call came from a team looking for a new top man to run on-field operations, he would most definitely listen.
Sure, Martz said Wednesday. If the opportunity were to come up again, who knows? Shoot, Im 59 years old. Im very happy with what Im doing right now. And if thats it for me, Id be the happiest guy in the world, too.
Martz left the ranks of head coaching in mid-2005 under contentious circumstances. He took a leave from coaching in October for medical reasons but his relationship with Rams management, already frayed, deteriorated further over the next couple months and he was fired in January 2006.
What followed were stints as offensive coordinator in Detroit (2006-07) and San Francisco (2008) and one season as a television analyst before he was brought back into the game last January as a member of Lovie Smiths staff.
The performance of the Bears offense this season will not post anything like the statistical peaks climbed by Martzs offenses in St. Louis. The Bears rank 19th in scoring (20.9 per game) and 30th in yardage per game (291.6), in the mid-20s in both rushing and passing yards.
Despite winning six of the last seven games, the Bears have not seen a significant improvement in the numbers by the offense except in the one statistic that matters: record. The Bears are 10-4 and good seasons generate pixie dust that benefits all involved.
Martz has made in-season adjustments, whether voluntary or mandated. While that suggests flexibility, Martz isnt claiming to be reinvented as to how open he is to doing it someone elses way.
Flexible has probably never been a word thats been associated with my name, he said. I think so, though. I like to think so. Maybe. Thats a question for somebody else, really.
Martz, who hired Lovie Smith as defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams, spoke up on Smiths behalf when Smith was in search of the head-coaching job in Chicago. Smith hired Martz as offensive coordinator and now could be the one to put in a word for Martzs suitability to return to the No. 1 job for a team.
Martz is by no means looking to leave.
This is a special situation for me, Martz said. Obviously, I know Lovie and Rod Marinelli, defensive coordinator, and now I know these assistant coaches too.
I think when youre happy in the job that you do whether youre a head coach or a coordinator I really like being a coordinator, because youre hands-on and involved with football.
I really like that part of it and enjoy it. I think thats probably where I am.
Nothing is ever automatic, though. Aaron Wilson, posting on his @RavensInsider Twitter account, tweeted Wednesday that one of the reasons Rex Ryan did not get the Baltimore Ravens head coaching job, despite being successful as the Ravens defensive coordinator, was that he would not answer questions about the defense undermining then-head man Brian Billick.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.