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Thursday, January 7, 2010
Memo to Bears: Go "Fisch"


Mike Martz scares me. He would not make the Bears offense the "Greatest Show" on Soldier Field's slop.

I don't want Lovie's "buddy system" on defense and now on offense. I don't want the man who has been fired three times in the last five years. I don't want another former Ram to fall down in Chicago.

Martz should've been the Bears offensive coordinator in 1999 when Dave McGinnis should've been hired as the Bears head coach. The past is for cowards and losers.

Give me that Filet O' Fish, I want Jeremy Bates and Jedd Fisch. And no, not because Jay Cutler wants them.

Cutler should have say in the coordinator hiring but only if it makes sense -- his guys make sense.

Bates has been schooled by the best. His father, Jim, is an NFL lifer, and he worked with Jon Gruden in Tampa, where he won a Super Bowl. In addition, Bates has also worked with Mike Shanahan and earned his trust as play caller. This year, Bates is an assistant head coach under USC coach Pete Carroll, where he groomed Matthew Barkley. All this and the "kid" is only 33 years old. And -- oh yeah -- Cutler's best success came under Bates.

Fisch now is the offensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota. He was groomed by Brian Billick for four seasons in Baltimore and coached Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal with the Broncos in 2008.

I've also been assured that these two don't coddle Cutler. As Steve Young told us, Cutler needs some tough love, much like Mike Holmgren and Steve Mariucci gave Brett Favre in his early years. Young called Cutler Lamborghini leaking oil. It's a fixable situation. Bates and Fisch remind me of young versions of Mariucci and Gruden in Green Bay.

Lovie can have "his" guy for defensive coordinator. On offense, it's time to "go fish" and grab Bates. And perhaps Gruden would like to work with him again in 2011.

  • A couple of other Bears nuggets: Charlie Weis was indeed interested in speaking to the Bears before accepting the Kansas City offensive coordinator job. The Bears did not show that interest back. Meantime, while Ted Phillips feels the heat from the media in various interviews, it's nothing compared to the hot seat he's on with the McCaskey family. A few of the McCaskey boys were none too pleased to hear during the news conference on Tuesday that Phillips considered ownership to only be Virginia and Michael. This family business has many conflicts at the moment. Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo aren't the only ones who could be out of work within a year. Keep your eye on Phillips' job. My sources tell me that could be re-evaluated sooner than Angelo's and Smith's.

  • I love the Super Bowl and conference championship weekend in the NFL, but these next two weekends, when the NFL Wildcard and Divisional playoffs are contested, are my absolute favorite on the sports calendar. Those four sports days are better than the first four days of the NCAA basketball tourney, but only by a hair. Here's who I like this weekend and I urge you to use the "Costanza philosophy" and pick the opposite way.

    The three rematches will all be much different than the meaningless action last weekend. I'm most confident about Cincinnati. Still not crazy about their offense, but the Bengals' defense will stop the Jets running game and force quarterback Mark Sanchez into mistakes. Bengals cover.

    Pats/Ravens is a tough one for me. No Wes Welker and a banged up Tom Brady have me conflicted. I still like New England to win, but I'm predicting Baltimore to keep it within a field goal.

    I feel the same about Dallas/Philly. Close game here. I think the Cowboys save coach Wade Phillips' job and win a playoff game, but the Eagles hang tough and lose by a field goal.

    Finally, to the "hated" Packers. Before the season started, I put $50 down on Green Bay to win the NFC at 11/1. That bet stays alive after Aaron Rodgers and crew win for the second straight week in Phoenix. Close game here too, but the Packers are the better, more well rounded team.

    So to recap, I've got three close games with the Packers, Cowboys and Pats winning, while Cincy has little problem with the Jets.

  • Hey Vinny, when I said "D-Rose at the end of the game", I didn't mean for him to be inbounding the ball at the end of the game. And why can't Kirk Hinrich make a jump shot the last two-plus seasons?

    For us diehard Bulls fans, the subpar year, combined with Vinny staying and management's handling of the situation, not only has us mad, but is making us lose interest. The Bulls have always been my No. 1 team, but I haven't gone out of my way to watch this team recently. Jerry? Pax? Gar? You're losing us.

  • Thumbs up to ESPNChicago.com writer Scott Powers for his state of Illinois college basketball rankings. My Salukis have never gotten much exposure in Chicago. I'm happy to read nuggets regarding SIU, ISU, and Bradley mixed in with the usual suspects.

    Speaking of my Salukis, I have always liked SIU coach Chris Lowery, but he is dangerously following the Lovie Smith path. He was at the Sweet 16 a few years back but has really underachieved since getting his big contract. After six straight seasons of making the NCAA tourney under Bruce Weber, Matt Painter, and Lowery, the Salukis will probably make it three straight years of not making it to the dance. If Butler could stay on top through a few coaching changes, why couldn't SIU? Wednesday's loss to the University of Northern Iowa on ESPNU was an embarrassment.

  • I saw "Up in the Air" over the Holidays. Can you believe I went a full year without seeing a movie in the theatre? I give the Geroge Clooney movie 3 1/2 stars, but I don't believe it's "award worthy." One question: How much do you think American Airlines and Hilton Hotels paid for all of the publicity?