NFC North: Ricky Proehl

MIAMI -- South Florida’s all-day downpour forced a schedule shuffle that left me away from the blog when Chicago announced the hiring of Mike Martz as its new offensive coordinator. All was not lost, however; I got some good interviews done after New Orleans’ practice for upcoming posts on former Green Bay/Minnesota safety Darren Sharper and Saints defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (I’ll explain later).

As for Martz, I laid out my argument last month for why I thought he was the best the Bears could do under their unique circumstances. To be clear, Martz’s detractors make some legitimate points, and I thought former St. Louis receiver Ricky Proehl articulated one of them well in this interview over at ESPN Chicago.

Proehl said Martz’s “ego got in the way” during the latter stages of his tenure as the Rams’ head coach and said some of his game plans included 200-plus plays.

“Did we need all those plays?” Proehl said. “No. … I think we got too cute, too fancy and over time it ended up being our demise.”

The good news is that Martz won’t have time to install 200 plays during his first season with the Bears. That only happens after years of continuity. But I believe Martz has a much better chance of making an instant impact than a first-time NFL coordinator, one who would probably take a more deliberate approach to installing an offense.

Of everything Martz said during a teleconference Monday, here’s what seemed most important to me (via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times): “We will be hitting on all cylinders on opening day. I can promise you that.”

Bears coach Lovie Smith can afford nothing short of that if he wants to continue in his job beyond the 2010 season, and I am certain that’s the primary reason Martz was his choice. The Bears are in survival mode. They couldn’t afford to take a risk with this hire. As contrary as it sounds given Martz’s well-chronicled history of personal entanglements and overly sophisticated game plans, he was their safest choice.

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