In our earlier Free Head Exam, I intended to broach the Chicago Bears' curious offensive gameplan against the New Orleans Saints. I got caught up in other items, but fortunately Bears coach Lovie Smith addressed the issue Monday afternoon.
As you probably know by now, Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz called for a pass on 52 of the Bears' 63 plays in a 30-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Although the final margin of the game was 17 points, the Bears were within one score until late in the third quarter.
Martz is well-known for his pass-happy ways, but his notable adjustment toward the running game last season was among the most important factors in the Bears' NFC North title. So it's worth noting that coach Lovie Smith rebuked Martz's approach Monday, in his own gentle way, and agreed it was not a formula for success.
"I know the balance as far as running/pass wasn't there," Smith told Chicago-area reporters. "All I can say is we'll get it better. You can't win football games with that type of balance."
Smith added: "It just happened. It happens like that sometimes and we'll clean it up. I'm not going to sit here and tell you the reason why. I'm just going to tell you we have to get the balance a lot better, and we will. We didn't do that [Sunday] for a lot of different reasons."
I credit Smith for recognizing Martz's mistake but think he deserves at least part of the blame. Martz isn't the head coach in charge of offense. He's the offensive coordinator and one of Smith's assistants. One of the gameday roles of a head coach is to ensure that his assistants execute the game plan as originally contemplated. At any point Sunday, Smith could have stepped in and instructed Martz to balance his playcalls. It appears that didn't happen.