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Bears will be more flexible on offense under Tice

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Jan. 14, 2012 @ 8:08 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

When the Bears made the announcement that Mike Tice would be their new offensive coordinator, Tice shared the vision for the offense that he and head coach Lovie Smith discussed during his interview for the job, which had taken place only one day before Tice was promoted.

Tice didn't get into specifics, but his description of his core principles, in a broad sense, had to be music to the ears of Bears fans, who had been longing for a different approach during Mike Martz's two seasons as offensive coordinator.

Tice vowed that there would be "a toughness" about the offense under his watch, in a statement released by the team. He said the Bears would be a powerful run team and that they would "be able to mix in explosive pass plays."

A balanced attack is the one that worked best for the Bears during the 2010 and '11 seasons, and the one Smith has always favored. Although a commitment to the running game had to be coaxed out of Martz in each of the past two seasons, Tice made it clear right off the bat that he has something different in mind for the offense than did his pass-happy predecessor, whom Tice assisted as offensive line coach for the past two seasons.

That said, the Bears' pass-to-run ratio was close to even last season. Add the number of sacks allowed by the Bears (49) to their number of passing attempts (473), and 53 percent of their plays were passes and 47 percent were runs. That ratio may not change all that much under Tice.

He has indicated that emphasizing a power-running game doesn't necessarily mean the Bears will be a run-first team. It's expected that he will be flexible and try to adjust his play-calling and scheme to fit his players, rather than rigidly forcing his players to adjust to fit his scheme.

The Bears are still looking to hire a passing-game coordinator/QB coach to assist Tice. Former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Greg Olson interviewed for the job Thursday. That search will continue, but it could take a backseat as the team focuses on interviewing candidates for the general manager job. It is the offseason, but Smith is staying busy, as he's involved with both searches.

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