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Bears receivers back Mike Martz

MINNEAPOLIS -- The future of offensive coordinator Mike Martz remained one of the top storylines in the wake of the Chicago Bears' season-ending 17-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings, but it's clear the team's three top receivers want the assistant back in 2012.

Earl Bennett, Devin Hester and Roy Williams said Martz deserves an extension and that the widespread criticism concerning the coach is "unfair."

"I definitely think he deserves to be back with us," Bennett said. "He's done a great job these last two years of putting us in position to succeed."

On Wednesday, Bears coach Lovie Smith was annoyed by a question about Martz's future.

"What kind of a question is that, anyway, at this time?" Smith asked. "What kind of a question is that? Why would you ask a question like that any way?"

Martz was linked to various college coaching jobs. Smith called the reports at the time "made up," and Martz attempted to defuse rumors that he wouldn't be back with the Bears in 2012. He repeated his desire Wednesday to return to the Bears next season.

Williams said that although it's Martz's job to call the plays, it's the players' jobs to execute, adding that he understands that criticism comes with being the offensive coordinator of an NFL team. Bennett said the offense's struggles have been the result of "multiple guys making multiple mistakes" and "that's not on the coach."

Hester's season as a receiver never unfolded the way he expected after putting together a strong showing at training camp. But he said Martz has "taught me a lot as a receiver," and recalled the coach taking the extra step of pairing the six-year veteran with Isaac Bruce, who once played for Martz and is considered one of the best receivers to ever play the game.

"I'm not in charge of that situation," Hester said of Martz's future. "He knows the game real well. That's plain and simple. When it comes to offense, he's one of the best to ever come up with plays. But at the same time, it was kind of tough on him with the injuries. His top guys got hurt this year. When you've got a star quarterback like Jay Cutler and then you've got a phenomenal running back like Matt Forte, who missed five, six games and still made the Pro Bowl, that speaks for itself. It's just tough when you're put in a situation like that."

Martz hasn't directed a top 10 offense since 2004 in St. Louis. Since then, Martz's offenses have finished 22nd, 24th, 29th, 23rd, 22nd and 24th in total yardage. In 2005, Martz's Rams ranked No. 11 in scoring. But since then, none of Martz's offenses have ranked better than 16th (Detroit in 2007).

With Martz at the controls, the Bears finished 2010 ranked No. 30 in total offense and 21st in scoring, yet the team still managed to advance to the NFC Championship Game. The Bears entered the game on Sunday ranked 20th in total offense, and 16th in scoring despite losing five offensive starters to season-ending injuries.

Bennett also missed five games with an injury.

"I think we were rolling when we were on that [five-game] winning streak [from Weeks 6-11]," Williams said. "We had everybody in place -- had our quarterback, running back, offensive line, wideouts -- everything in place and we were rolling. So why break it up? Why break it up?"

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.