Mike Martz, the headstrong coach who orchestrated "The Greatest Show on Turf" while molding Kurt Warner into a Pro Bowl quarterback with the St. Louis Rams, is the Chicago Bears' new offensive coordinator.
Martz’s hiring Monday ended a nearly monthlong search to replace the fired Ron Turner. His job is to turn around a struggling offense and get the most out of Jay Cutler after the quarterback and team failed to meet high expectations this season.
Cutler threw a league-leading 26 interceptions after a blockbuster trade with Denver. The Bears went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the third straight year since the 2006 team’s Super Bowl run, leading to a coaching shake-up in which Turner and five other assistants were let go and coach Lovie Smith relinquished defensive play-calling duties.
Martz seemed like a logical choice, considering he hired Smith as the Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2001 and is known for developing quarterbacks.
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With Martz in his first year as offensive coordinator under Dick Vermeil, the 1999 Rams won the Super Bowl and produced the first of a record three straight 500-point seasons. Warner, meanwhile, threw for 4,353 yards and 41 touchdowns while starring alongside Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt in the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf.”
Martz replaced Vermeil as head coach in 2000 and went on to produce a 56-36 record in 51/2 seasons, leading the 2001 team back to the Super Bowl.
Thomas back with Chiefs
Emmitt Thomas, a Hall of Fame cornerback for Kansas City’s Super Bowl teams in the late 1960s, is returning to the Chiefs as defensive backs coach.
Thomas played cornerback for the Chiefs from 1966 to 1978 and is still their all-time leader with 58 interceptions.
A five-time Pro Bowl pick, Thomas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He spent the past eight years as an assistant coach with Atlanta.
Bruce DeHaven, who coached the Seattle Seahawks special teams from 2007-09, has returned to Buffalo to take the same job with the Bills. … The wife of former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek was found dead in a home in Burleson, Texas. The Tarrant County medical examiner identified the woman as LeAnne Novacek, 45, whose home address was listed in the nearby town of Joshua. … Cleveland and Miami have swapped salary cap experts. The Browns hired Matt Thomas as their vice president of football administration. He replaces Dawn Aponte, who accepted the position of senior vice president of football operations with Miami. … Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes and current Chicago Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer are among more than a dozen NFL players who have pledged to donate their brain and spinal cord tissue for concussion research.