Don't blame anyone else but Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz for the Meadowlands Meltdown, when Chicago was run over by the Giants in a 17-3 loss.
The Bears surrendered 10 sacks, including nine in the first half. Jay Cutler was removed at halftime because of a concussion.
"Let me just tell you guys this, I just feel terrible," Martz told reporters yesterday. "The defense had a great effort. I just tried to do way too much in a short week with these guys. They are not ready for that. We have a bunch of young guys trying to learn how to play and we lost our poise, got on our heels and couldn't do much of anything right. That's an old coach's fault right there. … .Preparation for that game, we felt good about it but it was just way too much for these guys to deal with so just leave it at that."
Martz believes his team will make the proper adjustments to avoid something like that again.
"These guys are going to be fine," he said. "I promise you they will be just fine. We'll make sure of that. We're going to make some adjustments. Got a little bit too aggressive in terms of what we were doing and I am a better coach than that."
The problem against the Giants was this: The Bears weren't bowled over by a bunch of blitzes; it was mostly four-man rushes that led to the sack extravaganza. Once he's ready to play again, Cutler won't be nervous in the pocket, according to Martz.
"You start worrying about confidence in your players and we have the wrong guys," Martz said. "We do not have the wrong guys, I promise you that. It's a coaching issue, period. That's all it is."
Martz isn't worried about any doubts lingering heading into a road game in Carolina.
"That would be true if I wasn't so sure I knew and understood why it happened," he said. "… We're just doing too many things with guys who are trying to think under pressure.
"I've gone through this before and I hate to admit this to you, I'm not trying to be John Wayne. John Wayne died a long time ago. It's painful to stand here and tell you this, but that's just the way it is."
The fact that a quarterback in Martz's system came under heavy pressure shouldn't come as a surprise. In fact, that's been the one big criticism of his system, which entails a lot of seven-step drops to allow receivers to get into deeper patterns.
A few days before last week's game, I asked Cutler whether the use of deeper drops makes him vulnerable to taking more hits. His response:
"We have quite a few seven step drops. We have some three, and we have some five. I think the basis of this offense is on the seven step drops and pushing guys a little bit deeper. Mike has done a great job this year of mixing things up and getting the ball out quick whenever we start to break down pressure-wise."
Sounds like Martz is going to have to include some more three- and five-step drop plays just to keep his quarterback intact this season.