CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–January 3, 2012. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz, whose contract ran through the 2011 season, will not return to the Bears in 2012. Quarterbacks coach Shane Day also will not be back.
The amicable parting between Martz and the Bears was based on philosophical differences.
“After meeting with Mike this afternoon, we both felt it was best to move in different directions,” said coach Lovie Smith. “I appreciate the job he and Shane did for us over the last two years.”The Bears plan on keeping elements of their offense in place and do not intend to do a complete overhaul of the system. They will begin their search for a new offensive coordinator immediately and are expected to consider both internal and external candidates.
Martz directed an offense that struggled early this season before the Bears began clicking on all cylinders, averaging 32.2 points during a five-game winning streak.
Quarterback Jay Cutler was then lost for the season with a fractured thumb, and the offense sputtered, generating only seven touchdowns while committing 17 turnovers in six games.
In two seasons under Martz, the Bears offense yielded 56 and 49 sacks. But in 2011 the unit also rushed for more than 2,000 yards for just the second time since 1990.
“Whenever your quarterback is getting hit, that’s a concern,” Smith said Monday, a day before Martz and the Bears parted ways. “For me, we have a franchise quarterback first off in Jay Cutler, who is as good as there is. You want to protect him as much as possible.
“But scheme-wise, being able to rush for over 2,000 yards during the course of the season, we’ve only done that one time since 1990. That’s what our system and our scheme has been able to do.
“Now along those lines, our quarterback has been hit too many times around here. That’s one of the areas that we’ll need to improve, but it can be done.”