The Lovie Smith Saga: Challenges Not Accepted
I'm sure most of you know that I'm not a fan of Lovie Smith. In fact, it can be said that I loathe him to the nth degree. I can't stand his game management (challenges, timeouts, adjustments, clock management), he's an arrogant prick with canned answers (works only if you're Bill Belichick) and he often sounds incompetent in post-game losses.
He's made the playoffs in 3 of his 7 years as our Head Coach. He's been to a Super Bowl and has a 55-44 career record at the helm (2-2 in the playoffs). He's won 3 divisional titles and in each of our playoff appearances we've had a first round bye.
Entering last season (Jay's first year) I believed Lovie was the best coach in the NFC North. I believed he lacked talent at the QB position and that had to do a lot with our struggles after the Super Bowl loss. I thought our offense, or lack thereof, was wearing down our defense and was the reason why they fell off from elite status (along with the decline of Tommie Harris and the loss of Mike Brown). I also believed that the absence of Hester was a large reason for our struggles, which it probably was.
Lovie's strength is his personnel skills. His players love him, his coaches love him and the organization loves him. Rarely do you see anything negative come out about our team (i.e; schisms, arrests, unrest, etc). His players play hard for him and the believe in him. That should not go unnoticed. I've heard the argument that coaching in the NFL is overrated and that you need talent to win. I would agree with this in a sense, but I also argue that a great system where you can plug in players is also highly effective (see: Patriots, Steelers, Eagles, Colts).
Lovie has had talent here and for the most part when he's had a healthy team and quality QB play he's gotten results. However, I'm still not sold on Lovie as the 'right man' for the job going forward. He certainly has not been terrible, but I think we can do better (I'll expand on this if you want to know more).
With that being said he was asked to step up and get a big year out of this team and that's what he has done (assuming we have a decent showing in the playoffs). I don't believe it should have taken an ultimatum of sorts to have this type of regular season success, but beggars can't be choosers.
There's no way in hell we can fire Lovie after this season. He did what we asked him to do this season. But one year doesn't give him any more breathing room. He bought himself another season as our Head Coach and I want to see this type of success next year. I want to be in the playoffs every season competing for division titles and championships. Unrealistic? I don't think so. The Patriots have done it. The Steelers have done it. The Colts have done it. The Eagles while not a true 'powerhouse' have consistent postseason success. We have the 2nd or 3rd largest media market in the country (can't remember).
There is absolutely no reason why we can't be in contention every year. We have a franchise caliber QB and we need to surround him with an OL and some decent targets (the former first) and as we all know a franchise QB can make a world of difference in terms of winning. Jay has been lethal when given time in the pocket and a decent run game.
It's great that we are 11-4 and have the #2 seed in the playoffs. We've had a lot of luck this year, but the good teams take advantage of those opportunities and we certainly did that. We controlled what we could control and that's all we can do. I went through this season doubting this team and talking **** about them every chance I got. I thought they were frauds and would tank the 2nd Half of the season. Looks like I was pretty far off on both accounts. Frauds don't get the #2 seed in the conference and we went 7-2 vs Buffalo, Minnesota (x2), Detroit, Philly, New England, Miami, Green Bay and NY Jets down the stretch.
This is quite a bit to digest so I'll open this up for discussion. Thoughts on Lovie? Disagree with anything I wrote? We have a lot of good Bear posters on this site and would love to get your feedback.
He let our franchise get sacked 6 times in a meaningless game. I'd fire Vince Lombardi if he did that ****. He cost us one game for sure this year with his ****** handling of challenges, and possibly another. Sadly, it would be better to just find the guy with the best challenge % in the NFL and give him the job with no duties other than challenging plays.
2009: Scored 327 points
2010: Scored 334 points
2009: Allowed 375 points
2010: Allowed 286 points
The main change this season has been the defense, and I'm not going to give Lovie any credit for that being better. He had his playcalling duties forcibly stripped by his boss because he was an enormous failure.
Right now, I'd fire Angelo and give the keys to the entire kingdom to Eric DeCosta with the only restriction being that he has to keep Cutler and keep him in either the Martz or Shanahan offense. He can't be forced to learn yet another system or we risk ending up with a strong-armed Alex Smith.
This is all a pipe dream, though. Virginia's probably going to give Lovie and Angelo 5 year extensions now.
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