View from the Moon: What is Martz's Bears resume?

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View from the Moon: What is Martz's Bears resume?

Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010
Posted 9:07 AM Updated 10:54 AM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Mike Martz declaring himself open to consideration for head-coaching jobs in the future has some intriguing side stories to it. For one thing, it could ensure that he doesnt get one.

Expressions of interest in jobs are often best voiced over the phone, not over a podium. One lingering suspicion is that Ron Rivera hastened his ouster from the Bears with his active quest for a top job somewhere in the NFL. Nothing whatsoever wrong with that; but insiders have said that Lovie Smith tired of Chicos search pattern, thinking being that if youre not all in, then youre out.

And what kind of reference would Smith give Martz? Smith has repaid Martz for hiring him in St. Louis once upon a time. Martz gave Smith a coordinator job; Smith now has given Martz one, when offers werent exactly pouring in. All square.

Had several college coordinators not been moving too slowly through recruiting for the Bears needs, Martz is quite possibly not in his current billet.

If Smith has any slight whiff that Martz is using this job to get the next one, when indications were even as recent as training camp that Martz didnt aspire to head coaching again, the surprise will be if Smith takes that very well.

Bigger question: What is Martzs Bears resume? Organizations look not only for performance, but also for fit. Martzs Chicago offense was foundering before the off week, when sources tell CSNChicago.com that orders came from above Lovie Smith that there were going to be changes in Martzs design for the offense. Period. Martzs mesh with line coach Mike Tice has been very scratchy at times. The tilt of the offense toward more running and more balance tells you which of the Mikes prevailed in planning game planning.

Ironically, Jay Cutler has never been a better quarterback than he is right now. If Martz warrants blame for mistakes contributing to the three losses in four game a while back, then he also deserves enormous credit for keeping Cutlers head right in this growth spurt hes had from passer to quarterback. Tice didnt do that; Martz has.

All of which means that Martz is indeed every bit the enigma that he was a year and longer ago. The offense changed but how much of was his idea is something a prospective employer would like to know.

I think we all mature, he said, with an air of bemused self-assessment. I probably have matured later in life than a lot of guys. Maybe. Im not there yet.

But I think we all change and grow with different situations, probably. I think that as you get older, there are things that dont upset you or you react to as quickly as maybe you did early in your career.

No interest

By the way, if youre looking for a link to any video of feet, you wont find it here. Sorry; just not interested.

Flex-time?

If the Bears win Sunday, they will be a victory away from clinching the bye as the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, meaning a week off without a game against some pesky wild-card team. If the Green Bay Packers down the New York Giants, they get a step closer to the playoffs themselves.

That then makes the Sunday Jan. 2 Bears game in Green Bay suddenly very, very attractive and a prime candidate for flexing into the Sunday night slot. The NFL left that matchup TBD and Bears-Packers would be a gem, a game between classic rivals both with something huge at stake.

Flex-city.

Speaking up

Holiday time and a special thanks for Jason Goff (sitting in for Danny) and Matt Spiegel this morning for not talking about foot fetishes on our weekly visit on The Danny Mac Show on WSCR-AM 670 at 10 a.m.

What was wonderfully in the exact opposite direction was the interest in what kind of person Devin Hester really is, because Devins emotional moment at the podium last Monday night in Minnesota after the record-setting TD return was a side of a special athlete that we rarely see. A side of any athlete we rarely see, for that matter.

It was a good chance to talk about someone (Hester) who is generally one of the most enjoyable, pleasant people to talk with in a locker room, almost accommodating to a fault at times. And because hes not always the most eloquent speaker (right, like I am?) the unfair characterization develops where judgments are formed about how intelligent someone is.

In Hesters case that is even less important because of what people dont see, which is a guy thoroughly loved by teammates and has been since he got here as a second-round pick in 2006. Ive always felt that Hesters signature move as he finished scoring jaunts, the imitation of Deion Sanders one-hand-behind-the-head, long-striding finish, was never a showboat play by Hester as it was a thank-you to someone who was a mentor, friend, borderline father-figure to him. Showboats concoct their own look-at-mes. Hester never did that and I always thought that was very classy in its own subtle way.

Had to laugh when Spiegs and Jason mentioned talking that I should be chirping about my preseason assessment that the Bears would be 10-6 or better this season. Naaah. Like I told the guys, Im a Barry Sanders boy; when you score, flip the ball to the official and act like youve been there before and youll be back again.

Now, truth be told, I probably would lean toward a gesture or speech pattern or somesuch that would credit the individual who keyed me into some insights that prompted me to change the prediction from 8-8 to far better before the season started. But if I did that, youd know my source (I had inside information) and I never give up a source.

Well, ok, just this once...

The one who told me some things about this team and this season was...

Oh, wait, sorry, the editors are telling me to keep it short. Sorry. Gotta hop.

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.

Jordan Howard wants to lead Bears... and lead the league

Jordan Howard wants to lead Bears... and lead the league

So Jordan Howard finished second in the NFL in rushing in his rookie season, despite just a dozen carries in the first three games. The fifth-round pick joined the man who beat him out for the rushing title, Ezekiel Elliott, as one of just five rookies in history to average five or more yards per carry on over 250 carries. And he set the Bears' rookie rushing record with his 1,313 yards while becoming just the fourth in franchise history to rush for that many yards in a season.

Sounds pretty hard to top, like we might be set up for the dreaded sophomore slump.

But...

"Things are a lot different this year because I know what to expect," Howard said during the team's minicamp two weeks ago. "I know all the plays and things like that. I’m not out there thinking, so I can just play free and fast.

"I definitely feel like a veteran 'cause I know what to expect and can help the young guys on the plays that they're not understanding. I’m just more comfortable and want to be a leader."

One of the other things we learned about Howard last year is he's low-key, a man of few words. So the Indiana product by way of UAB will make his points verbally when needed, but his actions will speak louder.

"He was a rookie a year ago and didn't even go in trying to be a leader, telling a five-year guy what was up," said head coach John Fox. "I think with time, and obviously with production like he had, I think it's a role he can fall in to. We're in a performance-based business and even in that locker room, what they do on Sundays gives them some credibility."

One of the concerns about Howard coming out of college was durability, but he answered the bell once he became the starter in week four against Detroit. And he probably wasn't used nearly as much as he should have. The good news about that is he was subject to less wear and tear, averaging just 18 carries per game from that Lions game on.

But besides taking more of a leadership role, Howard wanted to work on his speed without sacrificing the strong base that, paired with keen vision and work by the offensive line, allowed him to hit holes quickly and charge toward the second level of opposing defenses.

"Just improving on the little things – my conditioning, my weight, catching passes. And looking for ways to finish runs better," says Howard. "I feel like I’m in much better shape than I was at this time last year, a little more toned-up."

"It's just training," said Fox. "When you get to that it's more like track speed than football speed and I think he proved pretty worthy of that a year ago as a rookie. Y'know we all can improve on things, and that's the expectation. He's trained hard.

"This time of year last year he wasn’t even practicing," Fox remembered. "I like where we are, we’ve brought in more competition, and he’s better for it. He’s kind of gotten used to an NFL season, he’s come back ready to roll, but he still has work to do before we get to training camp."  

Oh, and the 22-year-old has a couple of other goals he didn't mind sharing, besides being a leader and getting a little faster.

"First off, make the playoffs. Be the leading rusher, and just help the team in any way I can and stay consistent."

Did Brandon Marshall disrespect Jay Cutler with Hall of Fame shade?

Did Brandon Marshall disrespect Jay Cutler with Hall of Fame shade?

Brandon Marshall is no stranger to keeping it real.

The outspoken All-Pro receiver never minces his words and that continued over the weekend when he showed off his signed jersey collection.

Marshall took to Instagram and showed off "Santa" hanging all of the jerseys he's swapped with other NFL players:

Santa doing work.. . #jerseychallenge

A post shared by Brandon Marshall (@bmarshall) on

The list includes a host of current and future Hall of Fame players: Champ Bailey, Cris Carter, John Lynch, Darrelle Revis, Lance Briggs, Adam Vinatieri, Adrian Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Joe Thomas.

When almost all the framed jerseys were hung, Marshall took his followers through:

@nfl #jerseychallenge

A post shared by Brandon Marshall (@bmarshall) on

Marshall compliments each player before, calling them "Hall of Famers" before getting to Jay Cutler at the end and going "Hall of..." multiple times.

Was that Marshall throwing shade at his former quarterback in both Denver and Chicago? If it was an innocent mistake or whatever, there's no way Marshall would've posted the Instagram video, right?

Marshall and Cutler were good friends from the beginning of their careers with the Broncos. So much so that the Bears traded a pair of third round draft picks in March 2012 to allow the two to continue their bromance by the lake:

But Marshall and Cutler have had a contentious relationship since.

Last summer, Marshall responded to a Tweet saying "of course" he misses Cutler. Last August, Marshall hopped on ESPN's First Take and said he thought Cutler could win the MVP Award in the 2016 NFL season.

At the same time, Marshall talked about his relationship with Cutler and said he was the only person on the Bears with the "huevos" to hold the enigmatic quarterback accountable. Marshall also said he was "sad" he didn't talk to Cutler much in the year leading up to August 2016.