Part two of the discussion on the current Lovie situation is here. After yesterday's meatball approach, today's installment offers a more logical look at why the Bears should part ways with their head coach.
Lovie must be fired- Logical Edition
Some Bears fans have been fed up with Lovie, and begging for his exit from Chicago , for seasons. There are a number of positives that Lovie brings to the table as a head coach, and for that reason, I had largely supported his continued returns. While his shortcomings have been well-documented, especially as of late, I now believe there to be legitimate and logical reasoning supporting the Bears firing the bumbling Lovie.
In the past, the "meatball" way of thinking seemed to prevail as the loudest voice wanting Lovie fired. Arguments generally included Lovie's severe lack of fire and/or passion, his condescension to media and fans, and (the one legitimate claim) his questionable in-game decisions. Because those first two reasons literally have nothing to do with the team's production on the field, I always found these arguments to be tiresome and redundant. However, the spark of truth those arguments represented have now evolved into realistic and prevalent issues for the Chicago Bears.
Let's first look at something that has not been widely discussed this year: the benching of D.J. Moore. Although Lovie claims to allow his players freedom of speech in the media, as long as they put their name on the statement, Moore has been on the bench for a majority of the time since his statements about the Cutler/Webb run-in from week two in Green Bay. Moore had been a productive player in the time he had spent on the field in a Bears uniform, and has been forced to sit on the bench despite spotty play from his replacements.
Lovie's narcissistic addiction to media superiority turned into a petty benching of a player that could be helping the Bears stop other teams from scoring. In 2012, what was once an irrelevant complaint about Lovie's demeanor in press conferences is now affecting the team in a directly negative way. It appears that Lovie is putting himself, and his agenda, ahead of what may be best for the team; something which is odd considering that he may need as many wins as possible to retain his job. Lovie puts this inconsistent thinking to use in other facets of the game as well.
Time management has been a well-documented foe of Lovie throughout the years. I will never forget the extra chance at a game-tying field goal that he gave the Seahawks in the 2006 playoffs. How about when he left time on the clock, which allowed the Atlanta Falcons to score and win, in the would've-been Kyle Orton comeback a few years ago? Jay Cutler has had issues receiving plays in time since he came to Chicago. Despite all these inadequacies, Sunday's performance may have been the worse yet.
To show no urgency, with a division and wild card spots on the line, with under five minutes left and trailing by 14 is inexcusable. Then, Lovie had the audacity to claim the team "ran out of time." Here, the meatball and logical viewpoints line-up perfectly. Any coach that doesn't hurry his team up in that situation, or chooses not to for some daft unknown reason, and then points out that very fact as though he is not the one to blame for it, should not be coaching in the NFL- period.
Furthermore, Lovie has had frequent issues with both offensive and defensive coordinators. Halas Hall should have revolving doors for the frequency with which Lovie's staff has been rearranged. Is Lovie as bad at evaluating potential coordinators as he is at evaluating talent? These indeed are severe and troubling issues.
Despite Lovie's strengths, or strengths in the past, of coaching his players up, developing defensive talent, and calling an effective defensive game, all of his weaknesses point to one clear answer: another coach, high profile or not, could realistically be expected to do no worse than Lovie right away.
While this is an underwhelming feeling, the best arguments for keeping Lovie are that he is signed through next year, and there are plenty of holes to fill on this roster. Keeping Lovie, fixing a few holes, and starting completely fresh and addressing further issues in 2014 then is a good option. Likewise, many people argue that no one the Bears bring in would necesarrily make you feel better than you did with Lovie. I do not agree: I would have hope.
I've been riding the Lovie ride for years now, and I am done. I want to get off. I find it completely reasonable to hope, or further yet, believe, that a new coach could do just as good as Lovie has done in recent years.
The Bears already have a new GM. With a new coach, the team could theoretically move forward from this "window of opportunity" which has realistically been basically shut for two or three seasons now. Begin to fix the issues with the roster, but do so with your new coach, the one chosen to begin this new era of Bear football, in place. If the Bears want to commit to Cutler, then bring in an offensive-minded head coach, focus on fixing the offensive line, and repair the defense with late(r) picks and free agency. This may likely still take a season (or three), but start the process as soon as possible.
Back to the real point; the new coach should be able to deliver the same mediocre results, as Lovie recently, as soon as he takes over. The way I see it, under a worst-case scenario, whoever replaces Lovie should at least be able to instantly improve the in-game decisions that are being made. Perhaps he who follows Lovie will not have some of Lovie's (past) strengths, but that would be made up for with proper time-management and the knowledge of a clear gameplan and ability to call plays.
The Bears cannot move forward next season if Lovie returns. The fate of Brian Urlacher may be tied to this as well. This is another issue entirely, but I do not see how the Bears can rightfully pay Urlacher what he will likely want for what he is still able to do on the field. While he is better still than anyone who would likely replace him, the Bears cannot wait to move on. The defense is aging, and they look weaker as the season grows old. The team needs to begin moving forward immediately, and that means replacing both Urlacher and their head coach.
Allow Lovie to finish-out this season, something that is not in question at all. There is a good chance he will only make things worse, and miss the playoffs anyways. Even if the Bears make the playoffs, plan to part ways as soon as your season ends. Unless some miracle happens, and the Bears win the Super Bowl, Lovie needs to go.
The long run could be a lot shorter if the Bears start the journey quicker.