Notebook: decisions, decisions

One decision is in the books, the firing of GM Jerry Angelo, but the Bears have a host of other issues to resolve. We also offer player notes and game grades from the season finale.

Coach Lovie Smith does not have an answer yet for the Mike Martz question -- at least not one that he's willing to share.

Asked if he would bring his former boss and current offensive coordinator back for a third season Smith said: "Mike is just like the rest of our coaching staff. We did a lot of good things offensively. But right now we're evaluating everything. Mike's a part of that. Mike is a guy that's been around a few years. I've got to have a chance to sit down with Mike, which I haven't had a chance to do, to see exactly which way he wants to go and which way we want to go."

Martz is on record as recently as last week, saying he wants to be back.

"OK," Smith said when informed of that. "Again, I have to sit down with Mike and I haven't done that. There's a process that I go through each year and we haven't done that."

It could happen as soon as today.

"Eventually I'll meet with the coaches and I'll meet with our administration and I'll give you a better idea on what direction we're going with everyone," Smith said. "Mike did a super job for us. We had a lot of injuries this year. I think you guys know how I feel about him, but this is a new year coming up, so we'll see how that goes."

Martz has been criticized for stubbornly staying with slow-developing, five- and seven-step quarterback drops, despite an offensive line that was often overmatched in pass protection. Bears quarterbacks have been sacked 104 times over the past two seasons.

"Whenever your quarterback is getting hit, that's a concern," Smith said. "We have a franchise quarterback in Jay Cutler, who is as good as there is. You want to protect him as much as possible."

--Like offensive coordinator Mike Martz, special teams coordinator Dave Toub is also at the end of his contract. But his situation is much different than Martz's.

Toub's special teams have been among the elite throughout his eight seasons with the Bears under Smith. The organization will have to give him a raise or risk losing him to any of several teams that would be willing to pay for proven production. Toub has also been mentioned as a future head coach some time down the road.

"As many of our coaches as possible I would like to return," said coach Lovie Smith, who is allowed to hire his own staff. "Dave has been here every day that I've been here, so I think it's pretty safe to say that I kind of like what he does, and he likes it around here.

"But Dave has goals, too, that he would like to get accomplished. And every coach on our staff, especially coaches who have been on the staff for eight years, you would like to see them take another step. I know one of the things Dave would like to do is someday be a head football coach, and hopefully he has that opportunity some day."

--Wide receiver Roy Williams, who played in Martz's Lions offense in 2006 and '07, wants Martz back.

"That's my comfort," said Williams, who will be an unrestricted free agent in March. "I think that's everybody's comfort. I think Jay (Cutler) has progressed under Mike Martz. He had a tough first year, but this year he got it. It takes a while for people to learn this offense, and he got it. I don't think we should change because we'd be starting over again."

--Brian Urlacher's MRI Monday afternoon confirmed the Bears' original diagnosis of a sprained MCL (medial collateral ligament) in his left knee, and it also revealed a partial tear of his PCL (posterior cruciate ligament). There is no ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or cartilage damage.

Urlacher was injured late in the fourth quarter Sunday.

--In addition to games against the other teams in the NFC North, the Bears will play St. Louis, Seattle, Carolina, Houston and Indianapolis at home and Arizona, San Francisco, Dallas, Jacksonville and Tennessee on the road.


--P Adam Podlesh had a net average of 40.4 yards, the highest in franchise history. The previous high was Brad Maynard's 38.7 in 2004.

--CB D.J. Moore, the Bears' nickel corner, led the ream with four interceptions, matching his pick total from 2010. He returned one pick for a TD in both seasons.

--WR Roy Williams wound up in a tie with Johnny Knox for the team lead among wide receivers with 37 receptions after catching 10 passes for 141 yards in the final two games, as Knox sat out with a fractured back.

--TE Kellen Davis led the Bears with five TD catches, even though he caught just 18 passes for 206 yards.

--RB Matt Forte, despite missing four full games and most of a fifth, led the Bears with 997 rushing yards (4.9-yard average) and 52 receptions (9.4-yard average).


PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- Josh McCown managed the game despite getting sacked seven times for 43 yards in losses. He completed 15 of 25 passes for 160 yards with one TD and one interception for a 75.4 passer rating. McCown also scampered away from the rush four times for 30 yards. Roy Williams (four catches, 60 yards) was the Bears' most productive receiver for the second straight week, finishing strong in an otherwise disappointing season. The line's pass blocking was atrocious, especially LT J'Marcus Webb, who was abused by Jared Allen's 3.5 sacks.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-minus -- Only McCown's 30 yards on four scrambles gave the Bears a respectable 92 yards on 25 attempts for a 3.7-yard average. Kahlil's Bell's 54 yards on 17 carries was his least productive game in the final five games.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Bears had just two sacks on 44 dropbacks, including one by Israel Idonije, who played his best game of the season. But they did intercept three passes, one each by nickel CB D.J. Moore, Pro Bowl CB Charles Tillman and CB Tim Jennings. Tillman brought his pick back 22 yards for a TD, giving him five career interception returns for scores, a franchise record. The Bears had a chance for another half-dozen sacks, but Vikings QB Joe Webb escaped time after time.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Toby Gerhart rushed 15 times for 67 yards, but Percy Harvin (13 yards on five carries) was corralled. LB Brian Urlacher played one of his best games of the season with three tackles for loss and a game-high 10 total tackles. DE Israel Idonije also was a major factor vs. the run, picking up two tackles for loss.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Devin Hester's judgment and decision making seem to get worse each week. He had two punt returns for a total of four yards and two kickoff returns for a total of 22 yards. One kickoff return gave the Bears the ball at their 10-yard line. Julius Peppers partially blocked a 48-yard field-goal attempt. P Adam Podlesh was excellent with a 45.0-yard net average on seven boots. He did not allow a single return yard and got five fair catches.

COACHING: C-plus -- Only when the Bears finally provided LT J'Marcus Webb with help from the tight ends did Jared Allen's one-man assault on Josh McCown subside. But why did it take until the fourth quarter to make the obvious move? Still, the Bears put a halt to a five-game losing streak on the road to mitigate the damage in a season that fell apart because of injuries. It was the Vikings, though, and Adrian Peterson didn't play.

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