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So the way I understand it, just about everyone believes the Bears have totally screwed up their search for an offensive coordinator because a decisive team would have made the call by now.
First of all, let me reiterate that the Bears should have either bit the bullet and brought Ron Turner back or they should have fired the whole coaching staff (and Jerry Angelo, too, but we all knew that wasn't going to happen). So I'm on record as saying this whole thing shouldn't have happened this way.
But the Bears went ahead and made Turner the scapegoat (and heck, there were plenty of things not to like about his general scheme - starting with its predictability). The Bears did so despite the fact that Jay Cutler will now have to learn his third offensive system in three years and, of course, he'll be set up for four-in-four given the likelihood of another Lovie failure in 2010.
If you were trying to ensure the guy wouldn't fulfill his potential, you couldn't come up with a better plan than this.
And there's the fact that one season simply wasn't enough time to evaluate whether the Turner-Cutler combo would be successful over the long haul.
But once the search started, I don't understand what the hurry was. If going faster would have landed Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates or Green Bay Packer quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, I'd understand the outcry. But Bates wasn't going to give up a chance to start fresh with head coach Pete Carroll and the Packers denied the Bears permission to talk to Clements.
So then the question becomes, would San Diego assistant head coach Rob Chudbowski or whatever the heck his name is really have been a better choice than Mike Martz?
Would any of the other guys the Bears have talked to or talked about talking to have been better choices than Martz?
Of course they wouldn't.
I don't know why it took the Bears this long to talk to the coach who so expertly directed the "Greatest Show on Turf" St. Louis Rams offense to two straight Super Bowls a decade ago.
My guess is the franchise (quarterback) has some reservations about Martz (not surprising given the fact that the coach criticized Cutler on the NFL Network during the season for having a poor attitude) and needed to be convinced that the Bears were looking at a variety of options.
Or maybe the team is worried Martz will want to throw the ball more than Lovie would like. Of course, that's a point in his favor for a gigantic majority of Bears fans.
The bottom line is that if the Bears sign Martz, they will have grabbed the best guy available, a guy whose qualifications outweigh those of even Bates and Clements by a significant margin.
And even if the Bears end up going with someone other than Martz, I won't necessarily despair. I'll never understand why at least some NFL teams don't wait until after the Super Bowl to fill out their staffs. I know the assistants on still-alive playoff teams have a chance to interview with other teams for better jobs early in playoff weeks. But surely it makes much more sense to talk to them after their season is over. Yet teams almost never do that. Surely the quarterbacks coaches or whoever else might be the offensive coordinators in waiting on the staffs leading the teams that make it to the Super Bowl are the guys who ought to be the hottest prospects.
And one last thing . . . People have yukked it up about the fact that Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson took a job with the Raiders rather than even talking to the Bears. The thinking goes that the Bears are so pathetic, guys would even rather work for abysmal Oakland. Again - really?
The Bears didn't offer Jackson the coordinator's job! He was going to talk to them about it (and maybe about the still vacant quarterbacks coaching position), but he was a longshot and he knew it. The Raiders then offered him their coordinator job and he took it.
No matter how bad the Raiders may be mismanaged at this point, surely it makes sense that an assistant coach would take a major promotion there over only having a shot at a major promotion here.
The Bears should have cleared the decks and started fresh this off-season. But they didn't and there was some understandable negative reaction. Of course, these days, "understandable negative reaction" transitions into "these guys are obviously the most incompetent management team in the history of football" faster than you can say "Matt Millen."
Well, are you an optimist or a pessimist? While I'm not optimistic that the Cubs have done enough to make up an eight-game gap between themselves and the Cardinals, I am not pessimistic about their signing of outfielder Xavier Nady. The guy is a potentially great platoon partner for Kosuke Fukudome and perhaps it at least begins to dawn on Alfonso Soriano that if he doesn't get going this year, the Cubs have acquired a guy who could send him to the bench.
Then again, one too many hard throws from the outfield and Nady's right, throwing elbow, which has twice gone through the "Tommy John" procedure (most recently last summer), could simply disintegrate. And Nady is 31 years old. Now that the Steroid Era is at least in remission, most guys start to naturally decline in their early to mid-30s, let alone guys who have had two major arm surgeries.
Still, Nady's on-base percentage with the Pirates and Yankees was .357 in 2008. He hit 25 homers and his on-base-plus-slugging wasn't that far below .900, the mark of a truly elite hitter. I have to say it - way to go Hendry.
Jim "Coach" Coffman rounds up the sports weekend in this space every Monday. He welcomes your comments.
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