Scout's Analysis: Mike Tice

What are the Chicago Bears getting in new offensive line coach Mike Tice? Here is an insider perspective from Scout.com's Tim Yotter and Charlie Bernstein, who cover the Vikings and Jaguars, respectively.

John Crist: Tice had a record of 32-33 as coach of the Vikings, including 1-1 in the postseason, during the glory years of Daunte Culpepper to Randy Moss. Common sentiment at the time of his ouster was that he would never be top dog again. Is he now destined to be a career assistant, kind of like Rod Marinelli?

Tim Yotter: I think Tice just needs time to separate himself further from the off-the-field troubles that the Vikings experienced under his watch. I see him as a highly-motivated coach who would love to get back to that level, but he might need to go the coordinator route before reaching head-coaching levels again. He commands respect because of his status as a former player who has a great overall knowledge of offenses and picks up on the details, but I think one of his drawbacks was how emotionally high and low he could get. A position coach can probably do that more. But as a head coach, I think the players need a more steadying influence. My guess is he would develop that a bit more his second time around.

Charlie Bernstein: I would be very surprised if Tice ever became a head coach again in the NFL. I believe he's too much of a "players coach" and not enough of a disciplinarian, as referenced by the numerous off-the-field issues his teams had in Minnesota. Tice is far too forthright with the media to succeed in today's more-guarded NFL.

JC: Tell me about Tice's coaching style. Since you sometimes need to hold a mirror under Lovie Smith's nose to make sure he's still breathing, there isn't a lot of yelling and screaming during a Bears practice. Will Tice add some red pepper flakes to the recipe, or is he just another cool, calm and collected-type?


Mike Tice
AP Images: Rick Havner

TY: During his time in Minnesota, Tice had no problem getting after players. He could occasionally get in players' faces, but he also could play mind games with some of them and give them a public dressing down. One moment demonstrates that very clearly: During a training camp practice, he wasn't happy with the performance of one of his offensive linemen and pulled a fan from the sidelines to play that position during non-contact blocking drills. The message was clear, if not over the top. The danger, of course, is losing a player by going too far with motivational tactics.

CB: Tice hasn't been too much of a yeller since he arrived in Jacksonville, and really he's become sort of a "rah rah" type of guy. He's very positive, even when trying to make a point, and I've never seen him dress down a player. I would expect him to fit in with the laid-back demeanor of Smith.

JC: Since Tice was hired to coach the offensive line, what can we expect to see from the Bears' blockers next season? In Minnesota, he had a bunch of Pro Bowlers and seemed to get a lot out of that talent. In Jacksonville, how was the blocking from the tight end combo of Marcedes Lewis and Ernest Wilford?

TY: Tice is an excellent offensive line coach – the best I've seen in 15 years around the team. He believes in a power running game and a vertical passing game. He did have a solid crew of offensive linemen at the beginning of his tenure, but he also put together effective lines with some journeyman talent in his later years. During those years, he got more out of less. He was excellent in getting the most out of linemen by making them technicians and paying attention to details. The Bears' offensive line and Matt Forte will be better for having him there.

CB: Tice had plenty to do with the blocking schemes in Jacksonville, and in 2007 they were one of the best rushing attacks in the league. He believes in more physical blocking schemes, as opposed to the finesse or zone-type of schemes that some teams employ. As far as him working with the tight ends in Jacksonville, he helped make Lewis one of the best, if not the very best, blocking tight end in the league. Wilford gets his helmet dirty, but he's more of a slow slot receiver rather than a true tight end.


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John Crist is the publisher of BearReport.com. Tim Yotter is the publisher of VikingUpdate.com. Charlie Bernstein is the editor-in-chief of JagNation.com.


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