Martz is out.
That miserable old system that just begs to have Jay Cutler carted off the field in pieces is a thing of the past. Now he can rest behind a more solid offensive line scheme.
The new coordinator has stated that now Jay Cutler will be given more freedom to change plays, make adjustments and work his magic. Bears fans everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief and preparing for the Bears' return to prominence.
Surely, they are now serious contenders for the divisional crown.
Uhhh, not so fast.
There are always benefits in switching from one scheme to another... but there are also consequences.
And while everyone is getting all misty-eyed at the possibilities, the world seems to have ignored the other side of the coin. Bears fans may want to take a look at it, because it raises some serious concerns.
1) Defensive philosophy. Martz's biggest faults were that he gave too little attention to the running game and tended to leave offensive linemen out on an island. Those things were pointed to as the reason why Jay Cutler got injured. They are valid points.
Now more emphasis will be placed on the running game and more help will be provided on the offensive line to protect Jay Cutler. But everything comes at a cost. The reason the linemen were left alone was to give Jay Cutler more targets to throw to. The offensive configurations Martz came up with were designed to give Cutler the best open throwing lanes and targets. Those will be gone now.
Chicago has determined to put more emphasis on the running game, they have acquired two new star receivers who specialize in short-yardage possession routes, and they have two receivers that have the speed to stretch the field but have demonstrated a remarkable inability to actually catch it when it is thrown to them.
This perfect storm combination of elements positively screams the likelihood of seeing ten men in the box all day. Understand, the new found dedication to the run only works if there is somewhere to run. And Jay Cutler can have the biggest arm in the league. If nobody catches the ball on the other end, you're sunk.
2) People are looking forward to the new found freedom that Jay Cutler is going to have now. Has everyone forgotten what he did with that freedom before? People point to the outstanding season of numbers that he and Brandon Marshall had back in Denver in 2008.
Well, here's another one. In spite of the fact that they put up good stats, they became the only team in history to have a three game lead with three games to play and actually lose their division. As many times as Jay Cutler made outstanding plays, he also made mind-numbingly dumb ones.
In 2009, he came to the Chicago Bears and had big numbers there as well. In fact he led the league... in interceptions. It wasn't until he was handcuffed under Martz's evil system that his potential was realized and he took the Bears to the NFC Championship. Now the cuffs are back off. Are the interceptions coming back as well?
3) The Chicago front office is playing miser with the key member of their brand new offensive scheme, Matt Forte. Whether Matt Forte gets a new deal or not, the front office is creating an ocean of bad blood through this transaction. Even if the contract does get done, there is going to be alot of resentment.
If it doesn't, then Michael Bush has some tremendously big shoes to fill. He will not be given a chance to work up to speed with his new team and he will get absolutely no benefit of doubt. Players are feeling slighted. Bitterness is welling. If the Bears start winning right out of the gate and continue through the season, maybe they survive this without much difficulty. But if the season starts slow, this is a locker room that is primed to implode on itself.
Is it possible for the Bears to overcome these obstacles and contend for a division title? Of course. But make no mistake, these weaknesses are real and any one of them could be disatrous for the Chicago Bears offensively.
So continue to look forward to the beginning of the season.
But be concerned.