Halas Hall Silence May Spell Doom for Lovie

David Haugh believes it is time now for the Chicago Bears, namely Virginia McCaskey, to address the status of head coach Lovie Smith.  And while he's wrong - the time was three weeks ago - the point he raises is a valid one:

Pressed at his news conference on the day after the biggest win of the
season, Smith grew testy when asked about the only issue that matters:
his job status. He replied awkwardly that his only focus is on the

Nobody bought it.

If Smith is only focused on a
meaningless game against the Lions with his career hanging in the
balance, then he is even more oblivious than his worst critics charge.
Consistently sending a coach out to answer questions he can't fully
answer reflects poorly on the organization. Why not address it head-on?

Someone must come out publicly and state that Sunday's game in Detroit means nothing to the future of the head coach.  How could it?  If beating the Lions solidified you as a viable head coach, I'm sure pretty sure that I could be a viable head coach.  If the Bears are planning to retain Lovie Smith, tell the world now.  Relieve the pressure on the guy.  Have a heart. 

Perhaps the defeaning silence Halas Hall means that's not the case.


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  • Firstest with the mostest!

  • Very interesting take, Jeff. I hope you are right...but only if we can get Shanahan or Cowher. Who else is out there worth getting?

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    What about Grudin? I think that Shanahan might be a has been, but I also think that he is going to Dallas.

  • In reply to Sactown:

    NOOOOOOOOOO! Because he hates Cutler. That was obvious from the game broadcast monday. It was so bad I had to listen the radio the entire 2nd half.

  • In reply to alott96:

    I must confess sheepishly that I didn't notice his negative comments, and in fact thought he was defending Cutler at points in the game -- but sometimes I am not sure who is talking, Grudin or Javorski

  • In reply to alott96:

    In fact, jdawg, 11,000,000 is EIGHT figures.
    Did you miss that day in 5th grade math because of Jury Duty or something?

    LOL. Just yankin' your chain, guy. Stole that joke from Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck.." repertoire.

    As for the rest of your hit list:

    1) See above.
    2) I'm hearing that the players realize that a neither a lockout nor an uncapped year is NOT in their best interest and will avoid it. An uncapped year would allow the owners to dump all kinds of bad contracts without having to consider the cap implications.
    3) Valid, but depends upon #2, of course.
    4) No argument here.
    5) That answer, as you well know, would be NEVER, unless you count Papa Bear re-hiring himself a couple of times.
    6) I don't know, "Dear Tampa, please take our incompetant head coach and his fat contract off our hands" sounds unrealistic, even for Tampa Bay.

    Hope you don't feel picked on, joke-wise, jdawg, but you threw a couple of fastballs right down the middle to me.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I forgot to mention I only have seven fingers and no toes.

    I think we'll see a new offensive staff and a new DC.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I think maybe jdawg meant seven figures "per year". Two years left on the contract.

    At least if I were jdawg, that would be my story.

    Miek V- you Babich on what list? The list of people gone or back as DC?

  • In reply to BillW:

    Get rid of all dem bums... off with their heads.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    This was information was probably already posted and I just missed it but it bears repeating...

    When he was interviewed by Westwood One Radio immediately after the game, D.A. said that a run had been called on the game-winning play but that Cutler told him "Be ready, if we get the right look, I'll make it a 'Go'." Apparently, the Queens gave Jay the "right look".

    If you have NFL Field pass on NFL.COM, I HIGHLY recommend listening to the Minnesota Radio broadcast of the game. I've only had a chance to hear the call on the AP fumble and the game winner but Paul Allen, the Vikings' very capable play-by-play guy, sounded like he was at a funeral or he'd just seen someone run over his dog!
    VERY entertaining, to say the least and it's pretty obvious, to me anyway, that the broadcast crew does NOT hold the coaching staff in terribly high regard.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    They call Childress, get this, Mister Noodle.


    Still cracks me up.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I think you all may be selling this up a bit too much. The Queens are a team possibly in shambles, we'll see next week against the Giants at home. They get beat and we all have to re-evaluate what we saw on Monday night.

    Saints as well. Tampa Bay at home, are you kidding me? Way to let all the air out of that balloon right before the playoffs. The Saints needed the Mora speech right then. "Playoffs? Playoffs?"

    All I saw that I really liked was that Williams looks finally happy and comfortable at his natural position, LT. Forte-Bell ran like they wanted 1st downs. And Shabba-Dabba made his statement game, esp. with that over the middle catch that would have sailed over every other Bears wideout we ever had in the last 25 years, except maybe Justin Gage, Marcus Robinson or maybe Booker in his prime. Guys with speed and height like that are hard to find. Shabba-Dabba could have a Roy Williams like career. Butter played hard, perhaps his knee is finally supporting push. He looked amped up.

    Virginia will bring Lovie back, but she's not going to be nice - like John Fox at Carolina - because she wants to send a message to Lovie. She wants to upset him a bit, embarass him, make him sweat it. To show she's not happy. Or... she may just be asleep for the last couple weeks and the doctors need some injected virgin blood to wake her up and it's in short supply - who knows.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Albert, Tedy Bruschi chimed in on the Colts' fateful 3rd Quarter decision. He takes a great stand on that and it seems in line with your line of thinking. The whole article is here

    But the meat is this Bruschi quote: "When you compare the '09 Colts to the '07 Patriots, I am going to say something that a lot of people are thinking but aren't saying: At least the '07 Patriots had the guts to go for it. That's what they did, that's what the Indianapolis Colts didn't do, and that's their problem."

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Glad you retain your sense of humor, jdawg!

  • In reply to Sactown:

    Sac, did you hear that buffoon on MNF? You really want that clown as our head coach? Common man.

  • In reply to Sactown:

    I would be careful about wanting Shanahan as a head coach. He looked brilliant when he had Elway as his QB. Elway could make any coach look good. The broncos did nothing after Elway retired. I think having Shanahan would be more of the same for the Bears. The real problem starts at the top. we need to replace Jerry Angelo. Angelo is a complete idiot. I would like to get a decent GM and let the Gmchoose the next coaching staff.

  • In reply to cubbyfanintx:

    Shanahan is possibly worse than Angelo at drafting ....

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Lovie has been on the hot seat all year. Last year he was given a demotion (not in title) to DC. I can not prove that Angelo gave him an ulitmatum, but why else would he be calling defensive plays, while Papich Patch retains the title of DC, when in essence he is the linebackers coach?

    The fact that Angelo came out a couple days after it was alleged by John Mullin that Lovie's job was safe, is another assurance that indeed Lovie's job is not safe.

    There is no other explantion for the way that all transpired in the offseason.

    With that said, the only value in making an announcement that he is going to be let go of today, is that it would give other teams looking for a head coach the opportunity to interview Lovie (not a very strong reason, and therefore, not going to happen). We can and should all hope; however, that Lovie is fortuante enough to be hired as a HC elsewhere, so Virginia will be off the hook for the remainder of his deal. (Eric Mangini was hired twice.)


  • In reply to PhantomOne:

    Most likely scenario is right there.

    The Bears are looking to "trade" Lovie. Not trade like a player, but work back channels to see if maybe Tampa would hire him as HC, so Bears would get off the hook to pay him - and then go get Cower.

    And for those who say the NFL owners don't collude like that: I say "grow up".

    Problem is - again - this deal making is probably being done by Mike McCaskey and Angelo is not privy to it. And if they can get a deal like that done, then Eugene Levy.... errr...I mean Jerry Angelo packs his bags as well.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    [putting tinfoil hat on]

    Well, that would help explain the trade for Gaines Adams. least for a 2nd round draft pick.

  • In reply to PhantomOne:

    Man -- let me point out a few things:

    1) He's on the books for $11,000,000 (that's seven digits)
    2) There may be a lockout in 2011
    3) If they hire another coach next season the could be paying 2 coaches to not coach
    4) By all accounts, Virginia really likes Lovie.
    5) When was the last time the Bears hired a big name coach?
    6) The idea about dangling Lovie as HC trade bait is a new one on me. Stop inhaling.

  • In reply to jdawg:

    It's $35 million to replace him, never mind the $11 M owed already. He's not going anywhere. We're lucky if Turner goes ...

  • In reply to PhantomOne:

    Here it is...
    Lovie back.
    Turner gone.
    Marinelli DC
    Heimerdinger OC

    Here's a thought...Pat Fitzgerald as HC in 2 years when Lovie's gone. The guy is a fantastic motivator and has unbelievable charisma.

  • In reply to SpawnOfDitka:

    Spawn, I think you are dead on, only I would like Babich patch on that list.

  • In reply to SpawnOfDitka:

    A boy can dream Jeff! I'm worried that the McCaskeys are so cheap they are looking for an excuse to retain Lovie and the excuse was MNF. I just don't know anymore...
    I will say this, Virginia and company were far closer to Coach Dick and dumped him in 2003 despite a strong finish with Rex Grossman and wins over Minnesota (spoiled their playoff hopes) and Washington. So I don't rule it out, I think this will be a power play between Jerry and Lovie. Angelo will try and fire Smith, if the McCaskeys don't go for it, Jerry would probably be gone...

  • In reply to SpawnOfDitka:

    Hell no, I'd take Babich back over Marinelli. Worst coach ever, don't give me that D-Line bullshit, he got less out of Sean Rogers than the fucking Browns did, and now look at ours.

  • In reply to number1ninja:

    The DL were great against the Vikings, Marinelli was the best thing that happened to the Bears coaching wise in years. He's teaching the players, they haven't been taught before.

  • In reply to SpawnOfDitka:

    "Relieve the pressure on the guy", Jeff?

    WHAT pressure? The pressure of trying to figure out how to spend the seven-figure, er, EIGHT-figure payoff? (Damn, jdawg, now you got ME doin it!).

    Somebody, Anybody! PLEASE apply that kind of pressure to me.
    I would DEFINITELY be amenable. AND for only SEVEN figures!

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Looked at the NFL cap numbers and I was surprised to find the Bears are only half a million under the cap. Maybe the cheap argument doesn't hold any water. There is a difference between being cheap and just not wanting to eat an 11 Million dollar contract which I think will probably result in Lovehead staying at least one more year.

    Albert, I'm with you but I think what Jeff was really trying to say was, "Viginia, please take the pressure off of us, the fans". LOL.

    Ninja, why the hell should Babich Patch get a pass, the D has sucked and gotten progressively worse under his watch. How can you justify keeping him, explain please.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    Don't want him at all, just saying Marinelli would be terrible and they both have to go. It's all part of Lovie's BFF Club, which is the main problem, and in retrospect probably part of why some guys quit and were labeled busts.

  • In reply to number1ninja:

    Ninja, thanks for clearing that up. Totally agree.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Pat Fitzgerald?

    I don't know, Spawn.

    The NFL landscape is STREWN with the wreckage of college coaches turning pro including some really successful ones like Pete Carroll, Nick Saban and "The 'Ol ball coach", Steve Spurrier, who was SPECTACULARLY bad in D.C.

    Yes, Jimmy Johnson made the leap successfully, seemingly EONS ago. Barry Switzer won a Super Bowl but it's pretty much accepted that he surfed to success on Johnson's wake.

    Has there been a College-Coach-To-The-NFL success story since Jimmy J?

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Yeah, Jim Harbaugh, only he went from the NFL to college.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Joe Gibbs was a special adviser to San Diego State University before becoming a head coach. Does that count?

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    So, Harbaugh doesn't count and doesn't Gibbs pre-date Johnson?

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    So -- who should be our next OC?

  • In reply to jdawg:

    Is Nick Saban looking for a job ?

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Not sure THAT one has an answer until we are 100% sure whether Lovie stays or goes, jdawg.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Jim Zorn. I heard he was friends with Shanny. Shanny is friends with Lovehead. So if you put 2 and 2 together Zorn makes perfect sense.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    If they hire Jim Zorn as OC I will seriously consider supporting the Lions. Not really ... but it wouldn't be nice .... Angelo might as well go and get the guy he wanted for HC in the first place. I'd trust Saban as an OC, not a HC.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    We already have Marinelli from the Lions, why not consumate the deal with the devil and pull the trigger on Martz. Maybe Matt Millen is also available.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    On a serious note, would Weis be a legit candidate?

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Mike, funny.

    I would say if we're actually going to go big on this, let's not take any coach that's had less than big success at the position we want them for. I guess that makes Weis a legit OC, but the stink or failure still hangs heavy on him. Besides, the guy just seemed like such a schmuck with the whole,

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    MB, I here ya on Weis. I think todays NFL is a combination of size, strength, speed and brains. Brains being the difference between good and great. If you want ass kickers for coaches in today's NFL you are also going to have to make sure that the players in the system can comprehend the schemes. Maybe this is where the Bears have fallen short with the current crop of players. That is why I really liked Orton because of his cerebral grasp of his job. Sure he didn't have the accuracy but I liked his ability to know what the defenses threw at him and how to react. Orton was pretty good in the red zone. Do Cutler and the current players have the mental grasp of the game that is needed to be above average?

    Turner made a comment earlier in the year that he was going to really have to scale back on the play calling which suggests this is a problem. Look at the Patriots and the Colts, they are prime examples of this philosophy. Both systems are complicated with a precision passing attack which have been extremely successful in the past. Thats what its going to take for the Bears to move forward and improve. Does this organization understand this, and does JA and Lovehead have the right mindset from a scouting perspective? I don't think so.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    That Colts and Pats have Manning and Brady. 'nuff said.

  • In reply to Mastodon:

    I think Cutler can be up there with the best of em but he will have to have a strong supporting cast. It took manning several years before things starting clicking for the Colts.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    I stand corrected, Peyton went 3-13 in his first year and 13-3 in his second year.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    The Colts won more games the decade ending today than any other team. The reason, in a word, is Manning.

  • In reply to Mastodon:

    Put Manning on the Lions roster for 13 years and see how great he is ...

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    It's an interesting theory Mike.

    I personally can't say either way since I don't personally know any of the players. While I play a bit o

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    I may have been cutlers biggest critic this season but he impressed the shit out of me this game. We finally caught a climpse of this cats potential. I've been fucking waiting for this game all year. He made throws that no other quarterback in the storied history of the franchise has ever made. That bullet to G-Reg was a toss that I am completely unfamiliar with.

    bear out with your ball hair out

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    The Patriots and the Colts systems have had the same Qb forever and require that QB in place. Manning has had the same OC his entire career. Orton will be extremely effective throwing thirty bubble screens a game to Marshall whilst not making the playoffs the next 6 years. We don't need some genius OC, just a guy who's smart and will look at Cutler and get the best out of him. Move him outside the pocket on designed roll-outs etc.If our O-line isn't the best then that's what we should be doing anyway, as well as introducing zone-blocking - I can't stand watching o-linemen standing up and not blocking ANYBODY when there's guys just running by them untouched because they weren't 'assigned'. It's just plain dumb. Get another monster receiver opposite Shabba and rotate Bennett and Knox in the slot. An OC, a guard and a tall WR isn't too much to ask for. A safety and a corner on the other side and we'd be set not to embarass ourselves too badly.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Yeah, I agree it's a stretch. But I just love the passion and intensity the guy brings to the game. If it could translate to the Bears it would be fantastic. But, being the Bears, they'd find a way to fuck it up.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Thanks for the link, Ghost. I actaully have a small Tedy Bruschi connection story. As you likely know, he attended the U of AZ here in Tucson. I've worked at a local TV station here for ...well, basically forever and have gotten to occassionally rub elbows with
    celebs, among them, Lee Marvin, who used to live here, and Michael Landon who did a lot of exterior filming for LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE at Old Tucson Studios. I once had the pleasure of meeting Tedy and working with him on a Public Service announcement my station was producing after his senior season. He was a great young man to work with and you could see then he had a future in front of the camera. Alas, I'm sure he's depressed after Arizona's pathetic showing (or was that "No-showing"?)in last night's HOLIDAY BOWL.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:


    What are the odds that these Bears, flush with the success of Monday night, will "mail it in" on Sunday and lose to the toothless, clawless, Lions and their 3rd string QB?

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Albert - that coudl be why they are not yet saying Lovie will be back. If they tank Sunday then Monday means nothing. (Not that it means much in my book anyway.)

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Just saw the Trib which says Culpepper gets the startfor the Lions on Sunday.

    Bears will go sans Tillman, Knox, Manning and Izzy.

    Ouc, ouch, ouch,ouch!

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    BillW, if the do tank Sunday after what they did last Monday, it would be another case of "That's so Bears".

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    given what we've gotten out of the WRs, do we keep Drake?

  • In reply to jdawg:

    I think so, jdawg. Our receivers have problems, but I think that they often performed above expectations. Johnny Knox and D.A. surprisingly came on strong, too. I'd like to see Darryl Drake stay and work with a talent like Boldin or somebody.

  • In reply to jdawg:

    Here, here. Get him airlocked with Hiestand, Turner, Hamilton and Babich ...

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Nice, Albert. Lee Marvin was one of my favorites in my younger years. My favorite Marvin picture was Cat Ballou!

    I think the odds of that happening are certainly fair...but I don't think we realize how fucked up the Detroit Central High School football team actually is. I mean, this team lost to the Rams! I thought they did a commendably good job agains the Bears in Week 4, but the Bears (with all their difficiencies) demolished them. If they win, fine. If they lose, fine. 7-9 isn't much better than 6-10.

    Change is coming, Bears fans. I feel it in my knees!

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    I hope your knees are right, Ghost.

    Cat Ballou was a great film. Ghost, just for you!

  • I've been very happy with the job the media has done with exposing the lunacy of the Bear's organization. It would make perfect sense to say now that Lovie is staying - if in fact he is staying. Haugh points out that Carolina did that with Fox.

    What more evidence do they need to make a decision? So logic says they intend to fire him.

    Which means if they don't, it's another in a long line of illogical and inept things they do as an organization.

    Maybe forcing Lovie to answer questions about his future is their way of punishing him for underachieving. What an amateur group!

  • heimerdinger, titans.

    also, they're going the political route. wait for the anger to blow over, and buy time. it's not a very easy decision.

  • Here's my take on Loveheads job. He will be back next year but he is definitely on the hot seat. If I'm the owner the last thing I would do right now is say anything that will get my head coach of the hot seat in this situation. I would want him to be so uncomfortable that he never gets another good nights sleep until I see a winning record with the promise of postseason play. Lovehead will be back because:
    A) He still has 2 years left on his contract and the McCheapie's "WILL NOT" eat his remaining salary.
    B) Firing and Hiring at this point in time COULD make it harder not easier to turn this team around given all the dynamics of this organizations current situation heading into the draft and finding a qualified staff that wants the job can go either way. The safe bet is giving Lovehead at least one more year to rescue this shipwreck. I also happen to believe there will be a much deep pool of qualified coaches to choose from after the end of next season.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    Mike, stranger things have happened than the Bears eating the rest of Lovie's contract. I honestly believe Jerry Angelo when he stated that money was not an obstacle to a decision on the head coach.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    I didn't. Didn't buy jack shit of it.

    Why didn't I? Why did the bullshit meter spike?

    30 years of Bears behavior. You may think Cutler changes the equation, I'm yet to buy into that.

  • But look at the players. Vasher, Anderson, Alex Brown, Harris, etc. all were awesome UNTIL RIVERA WAS FIRED. Since then they haven't done shit, but neither has nearly anybody else except Briggs. Even Urlacher has been a shell of his former self ever since. The Lovie BFF Club struck again.

  • In reply to number1ninja:

    Forgot Tillman though, he's still the man. Get well soon!

  • Think about how scary that is Murph.

    To yours and Mike's point, they spend money but seemingly in all the wrong places... over and over and over again. They always seem to put their trust in people who misuse that power, that gift, to make the poorest personnel decisions. It

  • Sdw, nice. Check this out then:

    I've said this a few times on this here blog. Mays is our FS hero in waiting. He's a beast and a stud and he brings the wood like a damn lumberjack on crack (check the vid above at the 1:48 mark). He didn't have as strong a year this year due to an early injury, so we MIGHT (MIGHT) actually have a shot at him if we can trade up (some mock drafts have him going as high as 15th - to the Steelers no less, like they need another badass safety). I

  • In reply to GoBears:

    Again, How is Shanahan going to draft us out of trouble. Somebody explain it to me, please :

  • Watched the game again on NFL REPLAY and it plays again at 2a EST.
    Man, that NEVER gets old!

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I watched it too Al. Boy, what a game! You almost forget they're 6-9.

    I paid special attention to Chris Williams and he had just a fantastic game! I hope he keeps it up, he could be a Pro Bowl quality Left Tackle with continued play like that.

  • Here is another

  • We're in a tight spot. Our offense showed what they can be vs. the Vikings (only took 13 weeks to figure out who our #1 receiver is), but there is clearly something terribly wrong w/our defense. How do you keep offensive continuity and overhaul the defense at the same time? It's not really Jay Cutler's fault that they Bears couldn't run the ball until they made a "double upgrade" by moving Williams to LT, and promoting Schaffer. And now that they can run it, the play action looks great. I know it's kind of blasphemy, but in the context of a full football season, where a new QB and OC are feeling each other out, hasn't Lovie and the defensive coaching staff done a much worse job than Turner and friends? I've seen definite growth in this offense. Honestly, a new QB in a new system rarely does well their first year, it's just been even rougher than I'd imagined. I think if we can make improvements (somehow) on defense, our offense will continue to improve. Some of the playcalls in the Viking game were incredible (play action w/3 backs, and 2 tight ends), and if we can do things like that next year, maybe we've got a shot.

    Argh. This is so frustrating. It would have been less emotionally gut-wrenching if they had lost this game. Bears!

  • What has Weis done that would make him such a great OC ?

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