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Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Martz's departure could open door for Tice

By Kevin Seifert

Tuesday afternoon brought us what most of us figured was the only possible news the Chicago Bears would bring us this week: Offensive coordinator Mike Martz will not return in 2012.

Quarterbacks coach Shane Day, a Martz protégé, will also leave the organization. Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com has the details.

Martz's status has seemed shaky for most of his two-year tenure in Chicago. Both seasons required substantive midseason shifts in play calling and personnel usage, giving the Bears a balanced identity that didn't look much like Martz's storied scheme. Whether Martz willingly made those changes or had them foisted on him is an issue that was never resolved and is now moot.

I've argued the value of continuity on several occasions, noting that quarterback Jay Cutler will soon be playing for his fourth different offensive coordinator in the past five years. The Bears have an opportunity to minimize the change if they promote offensive line coach Mike Tice, as we've discussed, and it appears that Tice will receive strong consideration for the job.

Tice shares the same offensive roots as Martz but values the power running game and has a two-year head start with the Bears' personnel over anyone they might hire. He has never been an offensive coordinator, nor has he been a primary playcaller, and his promotion would rob the Bears of his drill-by-drill expertise on the offensive line. But there are no perfect candidates and Tice might well be the Bears' best option.

Stay tuned. Who knows what's next.