Mike Martzs departure from Halas Hall last week also was his de-facto exit from coaching football as the veteran mentor is retiring at age 61.
Martz told Jason LaCanfora at NFL.com, who first reported that he is retiring from coaching, which closes out one of the more colorful coaching careers in the past decade-plus. He finished his run with a run to the 2010 NFC Championship with the Bears and Jay Cutler before the 2011 season collapsed under injuries to Cutler and others, leading to changes within the organization.
As offensive coordinator for coach Dick Vermeil, Martz was credited with the schemes that propelled the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl win with his Greatest Show on Turf behind quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Marshall Faulk and receivers Isaac Bruce and Tory Holt.
He went on to succeed Vermeil, hired Lovie Smith as his defensive coordinator, and got the Rams to the 2002 Super Bowl where they lost to the New England Patriots. Martz stayed with the Rams until 2005, went on to serve as offensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions under Rod Marinelli, the San Francisco 49ers under Mike Singletary and the Bears under Smith.
He served as a studio commentator during the 2009 season before returning to run the Bears offense.
Mike Tice was promoted to succeed Martz and the Bears are in the process of a search for a passing-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
The Bears went into the 2017 offseason with a clear plan to make changes, presumably positive ones, at the quarterback position. The idea was and always is to improve the quality of players at this or any position.
With the Bears agreeing to terms with former Jet/Eagle/Bronco/Cowboy Mark Sanchez, as first reported by NFL.com's Ian Rapaport, GM Ryan Pace and the organization are addressing the quantity aspect of the position, if not necessarily the quality. And that should not be dismissed.
Sanchez fits the template of a Brian Griese, Jason Campbell and even Josh McCown, veterans with less than auspicious resumes' but with more a David Fales or Caleb Hanie had brought to previous rosters. He gives the Bears a third quarterback under contract; expect another to be added before training camp, most likely through the draft next month.
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It really does not matter that Sanchez, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2009 draft, could not beat out Trevor Siemian in Denver two years ago or Dak Prescott in Dallas last season (while Prescott was still an unknown backup to Tony Romo). The Bears before Thursday had just Mike Glennon and Connor Shaw under contract, and teams typically go into training camps with four passers, if for no other reason than to have arms to spread drill work around.
But Sanchez, whose career began with trips to the AFC Championship game his first two seasons in the NFL, represents the kind of backup that teams crave, irrespective of any journeyman status they might have. Sanchez is 30, whose teams have gone 37-35 in his starts, and has experienced winning, albeit less and less as his career has played out.
Not that the comparison is particularly notable, but Mark Sanchez or Matt Barkley? If Sanchez somehow surprises perhaps even himself and challenges Glennon, the Bears and Glennon are the better for it.
Would the Bears consider selecting DeShone Kizer with the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft?
At what point in the draft should they consider taking a signal caller?
Does it make sense for Ryan Pace and the Bears to take at least one quarterback in every draft?
We answer those questions in the video above in the latest SportsTalk Live segment.