Mike Martz, the former Rams coach who hired Smith to be his defensive coordinator in 2001 and gave him the added title of assistant head in 2003, has been mentioned frequently as a possible successor to fired offensive coordinator Ron Turner. Martz said on Tuesday that he would be interested in the Bears' job.
Another name mentioned prominently is that of Southern Cal's Jeremy Bates, who worked closely with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler when he was the Denver Broncos' quarterbacks coach before joining the Trojans for the 2009 season. Bates held the title of assistant head coach/quarterback at USC, where he called offensive plays.
Cutler, who went to the Pro Bowl after the ’08 season in which he worked closely with Bates, is one of the references on Bates' resume. Cutler had a lot of positives tings to say about his former mentor when he was hired by Southern Cal after being fired in Denver along with head coach Mike Shanahan and his staff after the 2008 season.
"Jeremy is one of the best offensive minds in football,” Cutler said. “He was extremely innovative with our offense and took our playbook to the next level with some of the things he did, keeping defenses off balance and changing our look, but at the same time keeping it simple for us players. Some of the things he did were amazing to watch. He was always watching other teams and coming up with new ideas for our offense.
“He helped me grow into my third NFL season and helped me reach the Pro Bowl along with some of the other goals I set for myself. As a unit, our offense became one of the most productive in the league with Jeremy calling plays. He brought a lot of excitement to the meeting room and on the field. He made me want to come to work every day and get better. Jeremy will do great things in his new role, and USC couldn't have picked a better guy."