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Dissescting Lovie Smith's Post-OTA Interview

Mike Burzawa

Die hard Bears fan and lead blogger at Bear Goggles On

LAKE FOREST, IL - MAY 01: Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears meets with the media after a rookie mini-camp practice on May 1, 2009 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Before Lovie Smith headed off for some family time and the grind of the season gets into full gear Sun Times Bears beat reporter Sean Jensen interviewed Lovie Smith.  Jensen tossed up softballs and Lovie swung for the fences.  Here's the Q&A with some commentary following.

Question: You've just completed your offseason workout program. How do you feel about your football team?

Answer: I feel very good about the team that we have. First of all, you ask the guys to show up every day for work, even though it's voluntary, to try to get better and improve our club.

Commentary: I had better not throw Jerry Angelo under the bus, but since he didn't get any offensive line or wide receiver help, I'd better just say I like the team we have. 

Guys have been dedicated in the weight room and learning the new offense. They've just gotten into the mental part of the game.
Mike Martz's playbook is heavy as hell so they'd better hit the weight room.

We've seen them come to work like they're getting ready to play that week. I think you can get a lot done in the offseason, and we have. We've improved from Day 1 to now.
We look as unprepared now as we will in Week 12.

Q: You won the NFC in 2006. How special can this team be?

A: Some of our better teams were judged on how they finished. Us, right now, I'm just looking at the feeling we had back then and how we shape up. And I think this team shapes up well.

Again, we have to let it all play out. But up until this point, we're pleased with where we are and the potential of this team.

Huh?  Isn't every team judged on how they finish?  And they haven't even really started yet!

Q: Anything that makes you feel more confident about this particular team?

A: I think we've tried to improve our team at every position, and I think you can make a case that we have improved at just about every position. So you have to feel good about where we are.
You can make a case that we improved as just about every position doesn't actually say that they did improve at every position.  How exactly have they improved at wide receiver or offensive line?

Q: You made a lot of changes to your coaching staff. Is teaching a point of emphasis?

A: If you're on the staff, you have to be that way.

We want stern teachers. Normally, people want to listen to the teacher because they think the teacher can help them. And our coaches can, and they've helped them quite a bit. And the guys have let themselves be coached.

Stern teachers?  This from the guy whose training camps are likened to a week at a Sandals Resort?  Guys have to let themselves be coached = these guys are uncoachable.

Jensen really brings the heat on this next question... 

Q: Do you personally feel any extra pressure, given all the talk about you being on the hot seat this season?

A: My mentality ... going into every football season [is] you have high hopes to do well, and that's what we have for our football team. It's as simple as that.

You want to go into the football season with the best possible group you can, and that's what I think we have. It's not what I think we have -- that's what we have.

Way to correct yourself Lovie.  It's better that you not think.

As far as my position, I'm just one of the guys around. There's no more pressure or anything like that, except for us to do well and put a good football team on the field. I've had that pressure every year I've been a coach, from junior high to high school to college to now.

Just one of the guys?  No, you're THE guy.  The head coach.  The leader.  If you say you don't feel any added pressure this season, you're either clueless or lying. So which is it?
There's a feel that we have. For us, there's a sense of urgency because we can't wait to go to this next phase to see how good we can be as a football team.

Is that the same "feel" you have before throwing a red challenge flag? 

Q: There was concern about quarterback Jay Cutler and offensive coordinator Mike Martz getting along. But they've spent a lot of time together this offseason. What do you think about their relationship?

A: Perception and how things get out there. How do we even get to that point, I wonder? Because Mike and Jay didn't even know each other.

I knew Mike, and I knew Jay. I thought it would be an excellent fit.

I heard Mike was our third or fourth choice. We offered the job to one person, Mike Martz. I've known Mike Martz for a long time. I knew what he brought to the table as an offensive mind.
Martz was the only guy they offered the job to because he practically the only guy that would even come in to interview. 

Q: Cutler mentioned that he's going to spend most of July here. How do you feel about that?

A: Jay is one of those football guys that wants to be around it always. Most quarterbacks are. But he's a football junkie. Sometimes when things are new for you, you just want to keep learning about it, and now he's had a chance to really digest some of it. ... You can gain so much ground between now and when you come back together.

Some of the guys will get their bodies in tip-top shape. Some, their minds. Hopefully, it'll be a little bit of both.

But a guy like Jay, a quarterback, that's what he needs to do. He's planning to have a great year.

Of course, Jay was actually planning on having a great year last year.  Does anyone plan to have a lousy year?

Q: Has he talked with Kurt Warner and other quarterbacks? Do you want him to do so?

A: I don't know, but of course I want him to talk to Kurt Warner. He's one of the all-time great quarterbacks and all-time great men to be around. I'm sure eventually they will, but now is the time to make contact with people like that.

Jay is going to want to talk to all of the people and get as much knowledge from people in the system. That's how it works.

Those are the kind of players we have. I can't say it surprises me that Jay and Devin [Hester] want to get as much knowledge from people in the system. On the defensive side of the ball, Tommie Harris has talked to Warren Sapp. Guys want to talk to players who have been in the systems that we're running and that have excelled in the system.

While you're talking to Warner, ask him if he's got any tips for defeating the Cover-2.  Oh wait, all we need to do is watch the tape of the Cardinals march up and down the field.




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