Marshall Faulk defends Mike Martz

INDIANAPOLIS -- Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk fiercely defended his former St. Louis Rams coach and ex-Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, saying the now retired playcaller was forced to work with "lesser talent" during a two-year stint with the Bears.

"Listen man, I'm going to say this and whoever plays for the Bears, if they want to have a conversation with me, so be it: Martz was working with lesser talent than he was accustomed to working with," Faulk said on Tuesday during Super Bowl media day.

"If they keep providing you lesser talent, you have to leave. I mean, other than Matt Forte, there wasn't anybody who would scare a defense. When you go and get Roy Williams and he becomes your No. 1 wide receiver, that's an issue. I'm defending Mike because I can only imagine how hard it was to game plan (with that roster). You look at what Green Bay had on the field offensively, and you look at what Detroit put on the field offensively, and you have to face them twice a year?"

Martz announced his retirement shortly after he left the Bears due to what the team claimed were "philosophical differences" on the direction of the offense. But Faulk believes Martz is still capable of guiding an NFL offense, even though his two years in Chicago were at times tumultuous.

The Bears finished No. 30 in total offense in 2010, and No. 24 this past season.

Martz and Faulk enjoyed great success together during in St. Louis, where Faulk led the NFL in yards per carry three times and also set a then-NFL record with 26 touchdowns in 2000. They were a part of five postseason berths, two Super Bowl appearances, and one world championship in 1999.

"I know that he has a lot to offer," said Faulk, now an analyst for NFL Network. "It's bad that he takes a knock for being a passing guy when you look at this NFL. What we did (in St. Louis) and how we did it, that's what everybody is doing right now.

"I believe they played in the NFC Championship Game, at home, against the Packers where Jay Cutler went down and Caleb Hanie went in the game. And they were still in that game. So if he didn't do a good job, you should have let him go then.

"You do your best, and I believe he did his best."

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.