BBAO: Mike Martz hoping for return

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, whose return in 2012 has been reported to be unlikely, is now on record saying he doesn't want to leave. Earlier this week, coach Lovie Smith said that reports of Martz's departure have been "made up."

So does that mean all is well and the Bears will renew Martz's contract this winter when it expires? That question has not been answered yet.

For his part, Martz said he was "bothered" and "embarrassed" by the reports and said: "I'm going to assume it's all going to work out."

I realize many of you have objections to the way Martz has conducted the offense since taking over in 2010. I'll say this: The Bears are 18-9 in games over that stretch, including playoffs, when Martz had quarterback Jay Cutler at his disposal. There are things we would all like to see Martz do differently, but we shouldn't be so quick to assume the grass is greener on the other side.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • The Bears have had no thought of benching quarterback Caleb Hanie, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.

  • Martz wants to cut Hanie lose in Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

  • If any Detroit Lions player is going to be benched Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, it might be receiver Titus Young. Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com explains.

  • Lions center Dominic Raiola, via Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: "Guys realize we've been doing too much rah-rah, too much trash-talking. Plain and simple -- just shut up and play. Other teams are playing smart and we're not. I really believe guys care, and they're gonna learn and grow up fast. We have no choice."

  • The Green Bay Packers' offense is embracing expectations to be flawless, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy, via Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "I’m fully confident that we're going to play championship defense down the stretch here."

  • Quarterback Graham Harrell decided to sign to the Packers' 53-man roster rather than the Buffalo Bills' this week in part because of advice from starter Aaron Rodgers, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.

  • As political support shifts to a Minneapolis-based stadium for the Vikings, questions have emerged about the finances involved. The St. Paul Pioneer Press examines the issue.

  • The Vikings would love for quarterback Christian Ponder's progress to match that of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune explains.

  • Eye-bulging numbers from 1500ESPN.com: "In the Vikings' past seven games, opposing quarterbacks have completed 73% of their passes (146-of-200) for 1,808 yards, 18 touchdowns and no interceptions."