Are Bears Fans Turning a Blind Eye to Lovie Smith?
It seems as things get worse by the day all I hear from Bears fans is their disgust for Jay Cutler, Mike Martz and Jerry Angelo. The only one of those three I have anything bad to say about is Jerry Angelo. The guy had lots of money to spend this offseason and decided not to fix the offense. For some reason he thought Roy Williams and Marion Barber would solve the Bears problems. Well so far we are three games in and neither has made an impact at all. So Angelo gets an F for the season thus far.
Now onto the main point of this blog. Other than Angelo the other big issue is the head coach Lovie Smith. For some reason when I talk poorly about Smith most Bears fans get agitated and stand up for him like he pulled them from a burning building. I feel like Bears fans refuse to see his issues. What issues you ask? His complete mishandling of the offense, his poor job of coaching the defense and his poor coaching decisions in general.
For those of you who blame the offensive woes on Martz or Cutler you are wrong. Cutler is not the greatest QB in the land. There is no argument here but he is a decent NFL QB. If the Bears could get a better QB I would gladly trade him but can anyone tell me what QB the Bears could bring in that would do a better job with no offensive line to speak of and what I consider the worst corp of wide receivers in the NFL? I don’t believe there is one out there available for the Bears taking. I also don’t blame Martz’s insane play calling on him. Lovie was the one who hired Martz so that is on him. He new what kind of offense Martz wanted to run. If Lovie didn’t like the all passing play calling then he needs to do something about it. Maybe for a half of a game I could see Martz getting away with that but not for two full games this season. The head coach is in charge of everyone so the terrible play calling is all on him.
Even if you push the offense off on someone else how about this lack luster defense? He is supped to be a defensive genius with his Tampa cover 2 defense. Well the Bears have been lit up for almost 30 points in 2 of the first 3 games. You can blame that on the offense making the defense play too much but the reality is good QBs eat Lovies defense for dinner. With Lovie’s cover 2 style there tends to be a receiver open at all times between the safeties and linebackers. It constantly gets exploited on third and long. Against poor teams with average QBs this is not a problem and the Bears defense tends to dominate those games but against good teams the Bears defense struggles. You can tell me all you want about the defense getting tired but the reality is Rodgers was causing the Bears defense to play back on their heels all game. The Bears were just able to bend and not break as much in the first half. I don’t consider this a great defense. The last time the Bears were a great D Rivera was in charge and since then there has been a decline in Bears defensive play. Sure they are still good because there is lot of talent on that side of the ball but they are no where near where they were under Rivera. Plus when the cover 2 isn’t working Lovie refuses to run anything else. He just doesn’t seem to adapt to the situation well, which is why I often think he is out coached.
The final straw and maybe the biggest issue for me is Lovie’s bad decisions as a head coach. Last year Lovie was clearly out coached in the NFC title game and has always been a bad judge at when to throw his red flag. This last Sunday was just another example of his bad decision making ability. That clever punt return for the TD that never was this last weekend was just a terrible call. I am of coarse not talking about the play itself as that was ingenious. I am talking about the timing of the play. The game was over the Bears were not going to win. That play is something you keep in your pocket till late in a game that you are only down by one score. Now every team in the NFL knows to look out for that and probably will not work if called again. It was just another terrible decision. There are usually one or two mistakes like that in every game that Lovie just miscoaches.
He isn’t the worst coach in the NFL, he just has proved he is not better than average. Yes the Bears went to the Superbowl and two NFC title games but I think that has more to do with the Bears overall talent and a little luck more than Lovie’s coaching ability. I will say that he does get the most out of every player on that field every Sunday and they all love him for it but personally that isn’t enough to counteract the poor decision making ability as a head coach, letting the offense get run into the ground by a terrible play calling offensive coordinator and using a sub par defensive scheme. I honestly think for the Bears to improve Lovie Smith must be one of the pieces to go.
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