DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 5: Marshall Faulk tries to hold back tears after being inducted into the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame class during an announcement at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 5, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Marshall Faulk
Newly elected Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk made his name running in the Mike Martz offense in St. Louis. Now an analyst for the NFL Network, Faulk is a critic of how that offense is being used in Chicago. He turned his sights on receiver Johnny Knox.
"Every time I see Johnny Knox run a slant, he goes behind the defender and you see an interception go the other way. And everyone looks at Jay Cutler and says, 'How did he throw that pass?' That is going to be a mistake no matter who the quarterback is."
He also went on to say that the Bears don't have any pure wideouts who can run this offense.
Faulk is right that several of the interceptions credited to Cutler aren't completely his fault. As we discussed in Knox's review, he needs to work on recognizing when he has run the wrong route and break up the interception. It's also about beating his man to the ball, which Faulk referenced.
At the same time, Faulk could have taken a different tact in criticizing Knox. Isaac Bruce, Faulk's teammate in St. Louis, visited the Bears training camp to help Chicago's receivers learn the complicated Martz offense. In July, Bruce said the Bears had all the pieces in place to run the offense well.
“I don’t see much missing,” Bruce said. “I see guys out here who can make plays. You’ve got a quarterback out here who can wing it. I always like that. You’ve got guys on the outside who can make plays and who are fast and can run routes without breaking down. When you’ve got guys like that in this offense, it’s always good.”
Faulk criticized Knox and the Bears in public, while Bruce decided to work with the players to help them improve. Though Bruce won't be Hall-eligible for two years, which one acted more like a Hall of Famer?