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Lovie's Last Stand

When the Chicago Bears open the 2009 season at that toilet in Wisconsin on a warm September evening, it won't be Jay Cutler and new-look offense I'll be focused on.  Yes, I think the Prime Cut we see in Week One will be vastly different than the Cutler of Week Ten.  Yes, I think the team would be wise to add a veteran receiver to the mix.  Yes, I think it may take some time for the coaching staff to correctly align the boys up front and a few weeks more for that group to gel. 

But when I read comments like these from Jerry Angelo, regarding the impact of our new defensive coaching assignments, my Bullshit Alarm sounds pretty loudly:

I think they'll make a huge difference. When you have quality coaching,
you're going to see it reflected in the performance of the players.
It's a coaching league. We see that because of all the attrition that
each team has every year. Coaches have to get players up to speed right
away. I anticipate that our coaches will have a very big impact, just
as much as a quality player would have.

I might be fine with this statement if the coaches discussed were not Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli.  This is a defense that struggled covering down the field on third downs, entering the season with a noticeable weakness at the safety position.  This is a team that never pressured the quarterback in big situations, adding a coach who'll be remembered as the only head man to ever go 0-16. 

Why make no personnel acquisitions on the defensive side, outside of bringing in an outcast linebacker from St. Louis?  Arrogance.  Plain and simple.  I've long constested (and written) that Lovie Smith couches an annoying amount of over-confidence underneath his aw shucks, hillbilly demeanor. Look at his solutions to the struggling unit he prided himself on building and developing: (1) Fire every coach but Bob Babich, his buddy and the man responsible for the play-calling.  (2) Take over all the play-calling duties himself.  (3) Bring in only one player - a man he drafted while the DC in St. Louis.  Lovie's answers have all, essentially, been Lovie.

And that is why the 2009 season falls squarely on his shoulders.  Anything less than a playoff appearance should lead to his immediate dismissal and the hiring of one of the four Super Bowl winning coaches who'll be itching to get back into the game.  (My vote would go to Mike Holmgren, though I doubt he'd be willing to share the talent decisions with Jerry.) 

If Lovie does do what we all want him to do and wins the NFC North, the opposite must also hold true.  Lovie must be given the keys to the kingdom going forward and a lengthy contract extension.

That is why the 2009 season will define this organization for the next half-decade and why the Jay Cutler story may only be a sub-plot. 

      

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  • 1st!!

    You know it byitches.

    Happy 4th of July. Get drunk and blow something up.

  • And yes we are already drinking at work

  • Will the old lady pony up for a new coach?

  • i agree wholeheartedly. love Lovie, but it's "put up or shut up" time.

  • If we don't at least make the playoffs I agree Lovie should go. I have changed my mind about JA though. He got an automatic extension with this offseason. But we still need some Safeties and more WR's. Ones that have actually had some success in the NFL. You know? Just to mix it up instead of purely rolling the dice at such important positions.

  • I think part of the problem stemmed from Lovie getting hired late, after most of the quality assistants were taken. Of course that means the defense should be getting progressively better, not worse, so what the hell do I know.

    But, it certainly seemed like most of the assistants that were fired were second rate college coaches.

    Maybe Lovie's learning on the job.

    Just don't expect a straight answer from him. You will not get it.

  • Some good, some not so good assessments. Maybe Coach Smith is an extremely confident coach. What is wrong with that? He's the boss. He wants things done his way because he believes it to be the best way, and he sports a "to hell with you if you don't agree" attitude. He just can't do anything right for some of you people. How many times have Bears fans complained about his stoic demeanor? Now they complain about his underlying "over" confidence. Please.

    Also, it seems as though many Bears fans have forgotten that Lovie Smith's defense was the second best in the league in an amazing 2005 season. And a fifth ranked defense that led the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006 IN SPITE of Rex Grossman. Ron Rivera certainly helped, but it wasn't all up to him.

    The good assessments are that, yeah, Coach Smith tries to go after people he has worked with before, even if it may be determental to the team. Getting rid of Chris Harris for the Amazing Adam Archuleta comes to mind...But I do not believe that either the "outcast" Tinoisamoa nor Rod Marinelli will at all be determental to the team.

    And I definately agree with Jeff, if the Bears miss the postseason this year, Bill Cowher or Mike Shanahan will be trolling the sidelines in 2010.

  • Jeff - I have to disagree (in part); I think Jerry is actually supporting your point. The coaches ARE accountable now. There are no excuses for the personnel on the field to fail. Jerry's done his part - he went out and took away the excuses from last year (lack of pass rush, lack of speed at the safety spots, lack of offense to take pressure off the defense)...and now Lovie, Babich and Marinelli are responsible for doing what good coaches do: getting their players to perform.
    That was MY takeaway from his comments...sort of like his public discussions about QB when we missed the playoffs last season.

  • MBHP,

    Exactly what I was thinking, JA says QB, later we get what we never dreamed of. JA, now when you read between the lines, is saying that the coaches are the ones he is putting under pressure. I like it.

    Bringing up the receivers not catching the KO passes at critical times last year, makes me wonder if the difference this year will be that recievers will get lasers from the signal caller and won't have time to think about it verses the 10 minutes they had to wait for a wounded duck, over thrown, under thrown KO pass. (Sorry KO, loved ya, you did some good, but it happened and we all saw it). Maybe just a microcosm of that slight doubt, or glimmer of non-confidence they had in his abilities. They looked past it, same as Rex because he worked hard, was likable and was a leader. The Bears will support their guy no matter what. You have to have noticed the difference in the receivers's swaggar since Jay arrived in interviews and the limited amount of video we have seen so far during the OTA's. Can't wait to see it with the pads on and if we get the chance to see it like last year we will notice a stark difference.

    This also brings to mind that the farce of a QB competition last year, splitting the reps, probably hurt Kyle, Rex and the receivers. That won't be a factor this year so by the time they play that first game against the slackers I think we will be a well oiled machine. I don't think it will take too long for the D and O to be feeding off of each other.

    I'm looking at an early win streak caused by the exciting offensive momentum, a five game win streak before the ESPN jumps onboard and we lose to the Bengals, then win through till we meet the Eagles and Minnesota and then win out.

    #Prediction:

    11-5 or 10-6 win the division

    #All predictions are subject to adjustment based on possible injuries and potential lame play calling scenarios...

  • i was just talking about this with one of my friends, bill cowher was supposed to be here in taji today and i was going to get his autograph in case lovie gets fired and cowher replaces him but it lookes like his flight got grounded. (stupid fucking dust storms)

  • I am already on record as having lambasted Lovie for questionable, downright mind-numbing personnel and staffing decisions so, yes, time to put up or shut up.

    But let's not delude ourselves. The McCaskeys are not going to lay out the kind of PREMIUM CONTRACT that a Bill Cowher or Mike Holmgen is going to command.

    I would remind you all that the last time the Bears hired a head coach with previous NFL head coaching experience was when Papa Bear, George Halas, took back the reins after WW II service or one of his brief hiatuses from coaching before he stepped down as head coach for the last time in the mid- 1960s.

    That's it. That's the list.

    Paddy Driscoll was previously an assistant. Likewise Jim Dooley, Abe Gibron, Jack Pardee, Neil Armstrong, Iron Mike, Wanny, Jauron, etc. ALL first-time NFL head coaches when they took over the Bears.

    So, put down the crack pipe, those of you who think you are EVER going to see the likes of Bill Cowher hired to coach the bears. it AIN'T gonna happen Bears as long as the McCaskeys own them.

  • Albert = correct. Murph = incorrect. The Bears almost never pay coaches. Period. Lovie had to campaign in the media, after a pretty successful run, to even get consideration for a decent raise. Virginia was only down w/the Cutler signing because she knew it meant trading the guaranteed money of two 1st-round picks. This is still a penny-pinching organization...

    ...now having said that, the opposite end of the spectrum is the Redskins, and I don't want the Bears to be that either. But Cowher will want 8-9 million a year, which is about 3x as much as the Bears will ever pay a head coach (adjusted for inflation). He also likes the 3-4 which would take us several years to acclimate to.

    I'm so pissed about the weather today; I have a BBQ dry-rubbed 10-pound brisket sitting in the fridge that I was going to slow smoke for 10 hours today. Stupid rain. Have to make a go at it tomorrow.

  • Excellent point, Albert. Add the aborted pursuit of Dave McGinnis (SP?) to that list. No way they will hire an established coach if this season results in no playoffs. Lovie will do his time, then the favourite assistant-du-jour will be hired. Bears Transplant...where you at??? Bring that brisket here. Sunny, hot, and thirsty here in Chucktown.

  • Well said! There's the Jeff i know and love. Great post! The only debate I have with you, is that my vote would go for Cowher...

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