Tice developing new identity

Bears offensive coordinator assuming role he never has fulfilled in 30-plus NFL seasons

Mike Tice probably is more popular than any offensive coordinator in Bears history.

Of course that could change Sunday on the Bears' first possession against the Colts, which also will be Tice's first chance in the job.

Though the Bears don't have a very illustrious history of play callers, expectations for Tice are as high as a soaring punt.

A former NFL head coach who has been an assistant for a dozen years and played in the league for 14 more starting in 1981, Tice isn't going to get the shakes coming out of the tunnel.

"It's just plan your work and work your plan," Tice said. "That's all it is. If you have a plan and you execute it, you should be OK — if you have better players."

He laughs. But he knows part of his job is to make his players better than their opponents, regardless of who they are.

We know Tice the offensive line coach. We even know Tice the Vikings head coach. But nobody knows Tice the offensive coordinator.

That identity will develop over time.

"I'll create my own formula and my own tendencies," he said. "We'll see what they are as we go forward."

And it won't be just about Tice and what he likes to do. It will be about what his players allow him to do.

"We have to see what suits us," he said. "We think we have a feel for what we want. But it's a growth process. Some years you think you are going to be great at a particular run, and you end up stinking at it, but you are great at another. … We are going to be what we have to be to score points."

The second guessing starts at noon.

Comprehend trendEvolving offense

We're we're not entirely sure where the Bears offense is headed under Tice and with new pieces Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Evan Rodriguez, but we're reasonably sure it will be different than last year's in key areas.

Among them:

•There will be fewer four wide receiver packages.

Though the Bears have a deeper, better group of receivers this year, it is unlikely four of them will be on the field at once as often. Under Mike Martz in 2011, the Bears used such sets 55 percent of the time, third highest in the league according to Football Outsiders Almanac 2012.

•There will be more play action.

Last year the Bears used play action 15 percent of the time, which ranked 23rd in the NFL according to STATS. Tice's history says those numbers will rise.

CHICAGO

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