Martz blames players for “execution” issues


To the extent that soon-to-be Jaguars owner Shahid Khan would consider hiring Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz to serve as the head coach of the Jaguars simply because Martz once served as head coach of the Rams when Khan was a Rams season-ticket holder, Khan may want to keep an eye on the situation in Chicago.

On Wednesday, Martz shifted blame from himself to his players for an ill-advised throwback screen pass that wiped out a possible first-half field goal for the Bears and resulted in a field goal for the Raiders, a six-point swing in a five-point game.

“I’ve done that for 20 years, and it’s never anything but a good play really,” Martz said Wednesday, via John Mullin of  “We didn’t execute it very well.  The ball got tipped.  So when you throw a screen and the ball gets tipped. . . .  Screens aren’t hard.  It’s just something that happened.  No, I’m not aware of [any criticism for the play call].  I didn’t think twice about that call.  I thought it was OK.”

At least one player seemed to disagree with the concept of putting the blame on the players.

“We’ve just got to be really careful what kind of situations we put [quarterback Caleb Hanie] in,” injured quarterback Jay Cutler said.  “Mike’s got be careful with that.  We don’t really know what Caleb’s comfortable with; Caleb doesn’t know what he’s comfortable with.  He hasn’t run a lot of these plays, hasn’t run a lot of this stuff in the offense in game situations, in high-pressure situations.  We’ve just got to take care of him.”

As Mullin points out, it’s the second time this year that Martz has blamed the players after a questionable play call in a key situation.  With the Bears driving for a possible game-tying touchdown against the Packers in the NFC title game, Martz called for an end around on third and three.

“It’s just an execution thing,” Martz said at the time.  “If that works, it works.  It was a great call; it didn’t work.”’

The message for the proposed buyer of the Jaguars?  If you’re considering Martz, buyer beware.

85 responses to “Martz blames players for “execution” issues

  1. And with that comment, Martz has signed his ticket out of town.

    Sounds like Cutler is running the offense, saying Martz should know better to put Hanie in a position to fail.

    Looks like Cutler will be working with a 3rd different offensive coordinator in his first 4 years with the Bears.

  2. OH FFS, Martz, just leave, OK? Seriously, you’ll be happier and for sure the Bears will be better off without you.

  3. That’s still better than what the Jags most recently had: blaming poor clock management on the OC not asking him to call a timeout.

  4. Execution is probably the reason why many plays don’t work…not sure I see an issue with Martz statement.

    Looks to me as though PFT is just trying to make this more of a problem than it really is. Many coaches say the same thing in their press conferences after the game…yet you never post an article about them. Strange.

  5. Why is the offensive coordinator running his mouth and not the head coach? When did Mike Martz approach the Jack Del Rio school of media relations?

    It’s like the article says; Please don’t hire me, I can’t stop running my mouth (and throwing people under the bus) before the season ends…no wonder this dude can’t get a sniff at a HC position.

  6. Hey Fartz, it was a dumb call! Period! You don’t put hanie in that situation! Hand the ball off, take your 3 and go in the locker room with the lead! Good Lord! I see you really want that ASU job you putz!

  7. It was a terrible call. Particularly on 2nd and inches on a drive in which Barber was getting 5 yards a pop.

  8. I think its important to note that in the exact same circumstance (blown up screen pass) Cutler would throw the ball into the dirt every time or possibly even by time and make a play.

    All because Hanie made a terrible decision doesn’t mean it was a bad play call.

    Also Cutlers comments above were taken out of context, he was asked “How could Martz help protect Hanie?”

  9. To a degree he is would have been a lot safer to call a couple run plays even if they didn’t get the touchdown kick your field goal and end the half.
    Martz likes to get clever and pull a quick one but the defense read into it and came up with the interception. Was tried before and Jay had them moving to the right and would have worked cept he overthrew Davis.

  10. Martz is a stubborn d-bag. Last year and this year were nearly identical for the Bears’ offense: season starts out horribly because Martz insists on his deep-pass “greatest show on turf” offense, the offensive line can’t support that style and Cutler is nearly killed, then they eventually bonk Martz on the head and remind him they have one of the best RBs in the league, Tice adjusts the oline, and whaddya know the whole unit starts clicking.

    I’ll be shocked if Martz is still there next season.

  11. Kind of reaching here aren’t you?

    I don’t see Martz throwing anyone under the bus. He just said it didn’t get executed well. Which is probably true if it got tipped.

  12. Martz has his issues, but I thought this one was on the players, or even just a great play by the Raiders. The Bears have run that play twice at the goal line this year. The first time, Cutler overthrew Kellen Davis by an inch, but there was no one within ten yards of him; he could have crawled into the endzone. This time, Hanie floated the pass a little too high and the Raiders player made up about 7 yards while the ball was in the air to bat it away from Davis. It happens.

  13. not for nothing mikey but he is a coach. a coach can bitch if he feels the play was the right call but was fxxked up by the players. i am no friend of martz because he seems for all the world to see like an ego freak. jay cutler seems to be a better qb with martz around. i think thats all that should matter.

  14. If the players have a problem executing the play why call it?

    I’ve seen him call these plays once or twice a week. Its frustrating because they’re in key situations (mostly in the redzone). He take the ball away from a (potential. Votes aren’t in yet) ProBowl running back and runs end arounds and screens to tight ends who (if I’m not mistaken) are usually there to block in any other situation. It’s mind-boggling. Add to the fact he blames the players, smh.

  15. Good for Martz – it’s about time players are help accountable.

    While the soft unproven coaches refuse to do this – the successful hardcore coaches in nfl history have no problem calling out his team when they aren’t performing.

    Sad we live in a world where making honest comments like Martz has made – are positioned as taboo

  16. Seriously how is this news and what’s with these titles? I feel like I’am reading the sports version of the inquirer.

  17. Well, it was bad execution, Hanie threw the ball with 2 Oakland players in the vicinity and one of them tipped it. Good execution by the defense. It did seem like they should have run a simpler play from the 7 yard line, but in the first game of the year, that worked for a TD and Forte could have walked in. Oakland saw the film and was ready for it.

  18. Always a great way to endear yourself to the players by blaming them. Almost as smart as only giving Forte 12 carries and letting Hanie throw the ball 36 times…. Genius!

  19. As a Packer fan I really hope Martz stays with the Bears. The last few years as long as the Green Bay offense puts up 21 points against the Bears you can count on the Packers winning since the Bear offense can’t put up more then 14.

  20. I am usually not one to defend Martz, but he is right about the execution. On the interception on the screen pass Edwin Williams never got over to put a block on Curry. Williams never blocked anyone on the play. If Williams would have gone over and made the block the play works. There was another screen that was blown up by Curry where Garza falls down and doesn’t get a hand on Curry.

    Bottom line is if you call a screen pass and your blockers can’t even lay a finger on the defender, bad things are going to happen.

  21. It was a horrendous call. 2nd and 1 at the seven yard line with 35 seconds (one TO) to go against the 27th worst run defense in the league. What does Martz call? A screen with the line of scrimmage stacked with defenders. Why not run the ball three times and see if you can score a TD?

  22. Martz doesn’t think he’s wrong. Boy am I shocked. Not. This is an offensive coordinator who does not allow his quarterbacks to audible out of plays if they spot a weakness in the defense or in the play call; if they don’t like what they see their options are to call a timeout or to go to a “hot read” and get the ball out as quickly as possible while still taking a hit. This is also a coordinator who seems to be ignoring all other offenses in the NFL that utilizes tight ends who can catch the ball, never mind that the only other teams who run anything close to this offense, the Chargers and the Cowboys, feature pass catching tight ends. Heck, it’s taken him 20 years to figure out that defenses are fast enough to get to a quarterback before he completes a 9-step drop. There is a reason that Angelo waited until every other candidate had turned the Bears down before offering the job to Martz.

  23. Mike Martz is a good offensive coordinator, but I would never, EVER hire him for a head coaching position. Especially if I were the Jaguars.

  24. Why would the Jags consider Martz? The Rams forced out Vermeil to hang on to Martz, who never won a championship for them and who they ended up forcing out a few years later. He’s been largely a bust in his subsequent stints with Detroit, San Fran, and now Chicago. It feels like he’s spent the last decade proving how overrated he was.

  25. Now I KNOW the world is coming to an end. Jay Cutler actually said something quite likable. Slowly but surely, he’s earning at least a little respect from me. That’s hard for a lifelong Packers fan (me) to deal with.

  26. I think what jay cutler said was spot on. You don’t call that play, in that situation, with a quarterback making his first start. Keep it simple stupid!!!

  27. Please let the Jaguars take him. Then the Bears can get back to being a winninng team that will never happen with Martz

  28. Mike Martz would make Norv Turner look like a great head coach. Hell Wade Phillips looks like Bill Belichick compared to Mike Martz

  29. Well yeah, everything works if its “executed” the way its suppose to in his head. Whether it be his complex playbook, or whatever you want to call what the Broncos are doing.

  30. In that situation, given the circumstance and everything that could possibly go wrong with that play if it’s not executed perfectly, it was a dumb call. Period. It cost the Bears the game.

    I really, really hope Martz goes somewhere else next season but the Bears keep the basic system and terminology so the offense doesn’t have to start from square one again.

  31. So now PFT is trying to rip martz for saying his players didn’t excecute the play…

    Granted its probably out of frustration, but really – think about it. If the players DID execute as drawn up, it would have worked right? Come on guys, not complicated.

  32. Wow… He really must be taking that job at AZ State.

    So do the Bears blame the 2-3 start on Martz, who took five games to re-learn what took him eight weeks to learn last year?

  33. “We didn’t execute it very well. The ball got tipped. So when you throw a screen and the ball gets tipped. . . . Screens aren’t hard. It’s just something that happened.”

    Mike you usually seem to be really fair when leveling criticism, but you seem to have an obvious disdain for Mike Martz. On any given Sunday you can hear “we didn’t execute well” from most any NFL losing coaches mouth. Why are you somehow insinuating that this comment somehow makes Martz “damaged goods” that the buyer (whoever that may be) should be aware of? We didn’t play well and we didn’t execute well are well burnished into the vocabulary of every coach in the league. In fact I think many of them do it purposely to embarrass the players into stepping it up. Why the negativity towards Martz?

  34. Wow.. really? Football fans understand its mostly about execution but to throw ur own players under the bus?? No no no.. u keep that in house and also blame yourself also instead of possibly running a higher percentage play that the players can execute more precisely.. terrible Martz..

  35. Martz came into Oakland with a strong running game and an untested backup QB. He faced a team that’s pretty good against the pass but not very good against the run.

    So of course Martz called a pass-happy game plan. That’s what Martz does.

  36. Martz has always had an ego. He is a very good offensive coordinator, if you have a good QB, RB, and a couple good receivers – like what all teams want. He obviously doesn’t use the TE. So in Jacksonville, he would need a new QB (Gabbert – not sure), RB is set, a new WR or 2, and trade Mercedes Lewis. I think that most coordinators/HCs could have succeeded with Kurt Warner – QB, Marshall Faulk – RB, Issac Bruce and Torry Holt. With the Jags it would be a “great” fit, because I like Dallas and don’t want Ryan to leave.

  37. Martz’s offense has been figured out for a while now…

    the man just cannot stick to a balanced gameplan if things don’t go just right!

  38. I’m pretty sure if he was a season ticket holder when Martz was the coach he’s not going to have ANY interest in hiring him.

    Everywhere he goes he’s constantly criticized and has some of those games where his offensive line looks like there new to pass protection, passes too much or is just generally inept in play calling. Would he even be in the NFL right now if not for Lovie Smith?

    Smart money says he stays as far away from him as possible. There is no reason for him to think he’d be a good coach. Judging by his portfolio, Khan knows all about smart money and the value of a dollar.

  39. Everything I’ve ever read about Martz indicates he’s a guy who has a hard time setting aside being impressed by his own genius long enough to understand a situation from someone else’s perspective. Hanie’s main job is to not get killed trying to keep the Bears from losing a game. Keep it simple, Martz, and design a game plan that will allow your experienced players to handle the load.

  40. Aaron Curry blew that lay up by sniffing it out on the backside and getting to the ball before the screen was setup.

    It was one of two impact plays Curry made, both of them ended up being intercepted.

    The call did surprise me though, because it was 2nd and 1, not 2nd and 13.

  41. Were any of you in the room when the video was reviewed? Seems like a run of the mill comment to make, and he probably had reason to make it. Regarding Cutler’s comment, he has reason to make that too. Why be surprised at comments like these? It’s a regular occurrence in any team activity for members of the team to share their views. Or did you think that dialogue of any kind never happens in a team sport? Honestly…

    It seems to me there’s an agenda to portray Martz as a bad guy, because he has that stigma, so why not right? It’s a lot easier to try to reinforce a false belief than admit you might be wrong about the whole Martz situation. It’s not like you guys are journalists or something. Oh wait… My bad.

  42. I was surprised when Lovie hired Martz; he’s bounced around a lot, and his system is a qb killer. Seems like he’s adjusted under pressure, but not a guy folks seem to enjoy working with.

  43. sorry Mike it is you and not the players. it is you who keeps thinking he is running the greatest show on turf even though the bears play on grass. it is you who called the plays that got the bears off to a lousy start this season before Cutler and lovie told you to call what worked the second half of last season. and what do you know the bears went on a 5 game winning streak because of it. so what do you do when the guy who stood up to goes down? go back to your turf playbook that does not work with the players you have and cost the bears the game. but sure it is all the players fault.

  44. Martz is an idiot. why in the hell would he try to force Haine to execute plays as if he were Jay Cutler??? Once again, Martz isn’t utilizing his players’ talent or working around their weaknesses. Martz’s one size fits all approach is stupid and stubborn.
    Even if the play wasn’t executed properly, the fact remains that he didn’t call a play that made much sense…in a short yardage situation, why didn’t he have Forte or Barber run the ball?? A running play would have had a MUCH better chance of succeeding.
    Plus, Martz isn’t helping player morale or instilling confidence in Haine when he tries to place all the blame on his players and refuses to admit he called the wrong play.
    No doubt in my mind…Bears need a new OC. Otherwise, they’re wasting the talent of Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Earl Bennet, Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, etc.

  45. “Martz thought Bulger > Warner.

    ‘Nuff said”

    you do realize at that point, he was right, right?

    I swear some people need to think before they type.

    Theres a reason Warner got benched in NY and then take a few years to earn the starting QB spot in arizona, he didn’t just magically give it to him.

    Warner was out played by Bulger,plain and simple.

  46. For all of you calling for Martz’s head, be careful what you wish for. I’m sure bears fans can remember the explosive offensive juggernaut during the Bob Avellini days. This current offense is pretty productive. That said, he should have pounded the rock in that situation.

  47. Reminds me of this exchange:

    Reporter: What are your thoughts on your team’s execution coach?

    Coach John McKay (1976 Bucs Team that was 0-14): “I’m all for it!”

  48. this guy cracks me up….sometimes knowing (or thinking you know) more than everyone in the room isn’t that good a thing.

    i see martz as a mad football scientist. if he could only get the little neutrons and electrons to do what he tells them, he could perfect that anti-gravity belt…. and isn’t that more important that the outcome of a simple football game?

    and to the guy who says bulger was better than warner…. if so, it was only after warner had been left unprotected so long he had become gunshy…. which is also exactly what happened with bulger, i might add. perhaps the better idea was to design ways to protect warner don’t you think? especially with how it worked out with bulger? nope, just have to find smarter neutrons and electrons…..

  49. Well Jay, hate to say it, but if a qb can not make a screen pass, and you got concerns with that, your Bears are in a world of hurt. I mean we are talking about an NFL qb. NOt peee wee , or high school where screen passes are ran every other play, but a NFL QB.

    I guess maybe Jay thinks the Bears need to stick to hand offs instead of lateral’s, and by no means ever never try a shovel pass.

  50. Its been real and its been nice. You know how this ends… But it hasn’t been really nice. Good luck in your future endeavors Mike. regards, chicago

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