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Players knew Martz's offense would be productive
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/23/2010 12:00 AM

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Now that the Bears' offense has rolled up 771 yards of total offense in the first two weeks of the season, the Mike Martz bandwagon is filled to capacity.

But players say they've had confidence in the new offensive coordinator's scheme for a long time, despite an inauspicious preseason.

"I think everyone wholeheartedly, 100 percent bought in months ago," tight end Greg Olsen said.

"When he got here and implemented this offense in the off-season, guys right away said, 'Wow, there's a lot going on here. There's so many opportunities that he's going to put us in to be successful, and across the board, for all positions, everybody included.' "

The Green Bay Packers' defense will provide more resistance than either of the Bears' first two opponents, but so far Martz's offense has provided the diversity it promised back in the summer.

Running back Matt Forte leads the Bears in catches and receiving yards thanks to his 7-catch, 151-yard, 2-TD effort in the opener.

But wide receiver Johnny Knox is second with 7 catches and 138 yards.

The proof that Martz runs an equal-opportunity offense is that five players are tied for third on the team with 5 catches: wide receivers Devin Hester, Devin Aromashodu and Earl Bennett, Olsen and running back Chester Taylor.

Forte says he isn't surprised at the numbers he has produced in the first two games, having watched film of the Rams' Greatest Show on Turf that was directed by Martz.

"I knew coming into the Greatest Show on Turf, with Marshall Faulk and those guys, that the running back is a big part of the offense," Forte said. "I'm not surprised that we get a lot of touches out of the backfield whether it's handoffs or screen passes or down-the-field passes."

It has been all of those things, as Forte's touchdowns demonstrate. He went 89 yards with a screen pass and caught a 28-yard TD on a deep flag pattern against Detroit and then secured a short flip for a 3-yard score at Dallas.

Studying Martz's Rams teams gave the offense encouragement from Day One, and the results from the first two weeks have reinforced what Forte believed from the beginning.

"You watch those Rams teams, and I don't think anyone can say this offense doesn't work," he said. "In (Martz's) history, I don't think offense has ever been a problem with the teams he's been a part of.

"They've just continued to put up big numbers, they continue to have players be successful, so I don't think that was ever a question in anyone's mind."

The explosiveness of Martz's offense in the early going has been impossible to ignore.

As a team, the Bears are averaging 14.8 yards per reception, compared to last year's 10.8 yards. The Bears have five receivers averaging more than 14.0 yards per catch. Last year they had none.

Once it became apparent that the Cowboys were going all out on the blitz, Bears adjustments immediately produced back-to-back completions of 19 and 39 yards to Hester and Olsen on passes that traveled less than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

"That's what football is about: adjustments," Forte said. "They're not going to line up exactly like you want them to line up each play.

"So we've got to go to the sidelines, look at pictures and make adjustments. Our coaches did a great job of that. They get us in the best possible position to make a play."

• Follow Bob LeGere's Bears reports via Twitter@BobLeGere. Check out his blog, Bear Essentials at DailyHerald.com