- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Changes could be on the horizon for the Bears' 30th ranked offense, but the team has no plans to strip offensive coordinator Mike Tice of his play-calling duties, head coach Lovie Smith said on Wednesday.
"There is no consideration on that, at all, so I don't know where you got that from," Smith said.
The topic of the Bears potentially switching play callers was brought up on Wednesday when Tice met the media at Halas Hall an hour before Smith did. In light of the Bears surrendering six sacks in their last game against the San Francisco 49ers, a reporter asked Tice if he would consider letting quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates call the plays so Tice could focus more on fixing the offensive line.
"We're looking at everything, how is that?" Tice said. "I'm not going to say something then to create a story. We'll look at everything.
"What we have to do is block better because it doesn't matter who is calling the plays, if you're not blocking people we'll bring Joe Gibbs out of retirement and have him call plays and he couldn't call the plays. You have to block. At the end of the day you have to block. If you're assigned a guy to block, you have to block him. Bottom line that's what it is. We all saw the same game."
Besides allowing the 49ers to sack quarterback Jason Campbell six times, the Bears' offense managed to gain only 143 net yards and convert on just 3-of-12 (25 percent) third down plays in the 32-7 defeat. For the season, the Bears also own the 32nd ranked passing offense and remain dead last in the league on first down.
"The lack of rhythm, the lack of the fast starts, the lack of success on first down are still haunting us," Tice said. "We felt like we had a decent plan going in (against San Francisco), playing some smash-mouth (football) and getting to that third and medium and giving ourselves a chance to convert to stay out of those long situations and giving those nickel pass rushers a chance to tee off. That didn't happen in that football game."
But Tice accepted his share of the blame for the offense's sub-par performance.
"Right now my resume is not very good," Tice said. "I'm the one calling the plays and the one leading the offense and I have to do a better job. I have to find a way to do a better job for us, for all of us, for the players, for the peers that I work with and for the fans.
"At the end of the day we all have to have better results, starting with me because I'm the coordinator. I have to have better results. The players have to have better results. It's a business. That's the way it is. That's what it's about and that's where we are at offensively. On a short week, which is good, because we have to make decisions and move and go. Whether that's what we are calling, who were are calling it, who's blocking, who's catching. We got to go."
Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall the team's issues on offense go beyond Tice's play calling.
"It’s on all of us," Marshall said. "When you look at where we’re at as an offense ranked No. 30, that’s on all of us. It starts with us just preparing, our preparation. Sitting at 30 out of 32, that leaves a nasty taste in my mouth; didn’t expect that. I’m the type of guy I like to look at myself first. I’m always gonna look at myself first because I’m not a perfect guy. I know that I make a lot of mistakes. So it’s really hard for me to point the finger. I guess coach Tice’s presser is in a few hours or so and you can ask him that. But I think coach Tice does a great job. We just have to do a better job of executing when we do have an opportunity."