- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice wants to protect his group by placing it in situations where the players can succeed.
But don't expect Tice to interfere with the calls radioed in from the booth by offensive coordinator Mike Martz, no matter how seemingly insane the pass-run ratio becomes over the course of a game.
"You don't really want to get into too much communication during the series with the coordinator," Tice explained. "After the series, we talk. [But] You don't really want to mess with a guy while he's trying to call plays and get into a rhythm. So I try and stay off the headphones, just listen to the play and do my job in between series, which is adjusting, looking at the Polaroids and getting things fixed."
Tice described himself as "the fix-it guy" during a game, adding his main job is to "try and point things out so the guys can play faster."
Despite widespread and arguably overblown criticism concerning Chicago's offensive line, the unit allowed just three sacks in Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers. Martz said that after he and quarterback Jay Cutler, both walked away "excited about that part of it."
The Bears gave up five sacks in the opener against Atlanta, but really the offensive line was responsible for just three of those. The club gave up nine more sacks in losses to the Saints and the Packers.
Bears coach Lovie Smith said the team needs to make "a play here or there" and "we'll be right on track."
But Cutler admitted Wednesday that the pressure -- or the perception it's coming -- affects his poise in the pocket.
Sure, a more run-oriented game would help to alleviate some of that by keeping defenses off balance while making the Bears less predictable. Tice acknowledged the difficulty of protecting Cutler when teams constantly expect the Bears to throw.
But the offensive line coach wouldn't make excuses, saying it's his job to teach his group to execute well under all circumstances, regardless of how arduous.
"Hey look, I'm not going to get involved in that [play calling]," Tice said. "We have to execute the plays that are called. We've got to do a better job of trying to put those guys in positions to do well. We've got to go out there and get rhythmic. We've got to have fun. I bought into this job of coach 16 years ago to have fun. Right now, it's not so much damned fun. We've got to win again so we can have fun."