Up until this morning, when news broke that Lovie Smith was out as Chicago Bears’ head coach, a lot of Bears fans still believed Phil Emery was just a puppet for the McCaskey family, who like Smith immensely. It should be clear now that Emery is pulling the strings, and he and Gorge McCaskey are serious about winning. Virginia McCaskey is not making football decisions.
The winds of change feel nice.
After nine years of failed offense and lack of playoff appearances, Lovie Smith has been relieved of his duties as Bears’ head coach. I thought that this guy would survive the apocalypse sitting behind his desk up in Lake Forest. Apparently, I was wrong.
The time was right. Smith is a good coach and a great defensive coordinator. But he won't win you championship. He’s proven he cannot realize what it takes to have a successful offense, and his inability to adjust and overall stubbornness helped to get him fired.
So what now?
Per Jay Glazer, the Bears have already reached out to interview Broncos’ offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who has had success with Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and now Peyton Manning (talk about flexible). He will likely be a hot candidate for more than a few of seven head coaching jobs that have come available today already.
McCoy is a young, innovative guy, but he also has Peyton Manning running the show. But even before his Denver days, he was in Carolina where he helped develop QB Jake Delhomme, who had some success while with McCoy. He has adapted his system many times.
Bruce Arians is a guy at the top of my list. After having success with the Steelers, then as interim head coach for the Colts while Chuck Pagano battled leukemia, Arians makes a lot of sense as someone with head coaching experience and a good track record of successful offense.
Either way, the Bears’ interest in McCoy is a good sign that Phil Emery wants an offensive mind in charge. It’s is how you win in today's League. Look no farther that to Bill Belichick, a former defensive guy turned offensive genius. And the Patriots have been the class of the NFL for a long time.
Lovie Smith’s departure also means a lot of household names on the current roster could be gone next season. We have likely seen the last of Brian Urlacher. It's highly unlikely that this team will continue to run the same defensive system; a system Urlacher fit perfectly in his glory days. Julius Peppers, because of money and potentially scheme, could also be on his way out.
A lot more change is coming to Halas Hall.
For a new head coach coming in, this is a very appealing job. You have a crazy-talented QB, one all-world wide receiver, a top notch versatile running back and now a young receiver in Alshon Jeffery, who appears to be on the track for success.
Not to mention a nice, young cast of defensive linemen.
Shea McClellin is a nice piece for a new defensive coordinator potentially switching to a 3-4, in which McClellin could thrive immediately. Even Corey Wootton, with his size and athleticism, could be a 3-4 outside pass rusher. There is a lot of talent among the tackles, too. Melton and Paea are potentially nice pieces moving forward.
On top of roster talent, you have the security that comes with a rebuild. The new guy will have the opportunity to succeed before being trust on the next hotseat.
The one big thing that is up in the air is the future of Jay Cutler. Will a new coach want him after next year? Or will the Bears be scared to sign him to a long term deal with his injury history? That is a huge question mark moving forward.
Change isn't always a bad thing, and in this situation it's much needed.