Passing game a staffing priority for Bears


Mike Tice has never been an offensive coordinator. Hes been about everything else on that side of the ball, though.

Tice was a college quarterback at Maryland, an NFL tight end with three teams and an offensive line coach for two (Jacksonville, Chicago). So the only position group with which he lacks first-hand experience with is wide receiver.

To complete our staff we will be hiring a passing coordinator who will work with our quarterbacks and an offensive line coach, coach Lovie Smith said.

The Bears will supplement Tice with those assistants in one form or another. The quarterbacks coach will be an interesting hire given the pressure on the whole regime, and QB coach Shane Day left Tuesday around the Martz exit.

Tice has been tasked with protecting Jay Cutler and springing Matt Forte for the past two years. But he hasnt spent the time with either of those positions nor with the players on the business end of Cutler throws.

An intriguing figure here is Bears receivers coach Darryl Drake.

Insiders told that Drake, who has drawn serious interest in the past from college programs as both head coach and offensive coordinator, did not actively campaign for the Bears job.

But he has a good relationship with Tice, shares a smash-mouth philosophy that involves wideouts blocking (or sitting on the bench) and was part of the Bears managing to have nine different receivers with at least 18 receptions this season, the most since 10 in 1994.

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