Examining Martz's early-season history

B.J. of Petoskey, Mich., took exception to my assertion that offensive coordinator Mike Martz gives the Chicago Bears their best chance to have a fast start this fall:

You say: "Mike Martz has his faults, but he also has the ideal résumé for this situation: Experience, a scheme that has always scored points and a hit-the-ground sprinting mentality that should have the Bears improved from Week 1." If you go check out the Lions' (2006) first year under Martz, it took them a while to get used to the new offense. From the first game at home -- a real offensive explosion vs. Seattle -- resulted in a 9 - 6 loss, while week 2, the Lions scored 1 TD and gave up three fumbles & 4 TD's to Chicago.

Thanks for the suggestion, B.J. I not only looked back at Martz's initial effort in Detroit but also in San Francisco. I would call the evidence inconclusive, but it provides some grist as we anticipate the Bears' 2010 season.

The specifics are in the chart accompanying this post. The Lions did stumble early in 2006, but in Weeks 3 and 4 they combined for 58 points and 794 total yards. The 49ers had a tough opener against Arizona in 2008, but in Week 2 they put up 33 points and 365 total yards. I'm fine with an offense that churns out those types of numbers in the first "quarter" of the season.

There are plenty of variables to consider in these comparisons -- most notably the including the relative talent between the 2006 Lions, the 2008 49ers and the 2010 Bears. I think you could make an argument that Jay Cutler is better than the quarterbacks Martz had in Detroit and San Francisco, giving him a personnel advantage in terms of implementing his system quickly.