Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith has a Rodney Dangerfield type life…no respect. It seems that no matter how successful Smith’s teams are, his critics will line up and take shots at his coaching ability. Entering the 2012 season, Smith has a career record of 71-57 and has been to two NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl.
Considering some of the lackluster rosters Smith has had to deal with, it seems from my vantage point he is one of the league’s better coaches. And yet. Smith is on the hot seat this season.
The bar has been raised this season for Smith. With an aging roster and a new General Manager in Phil Emery, I feel that Smith is under a microscope this season. The expectations on this team are very high, and considering that Smith doesn’t have a Lombardi Trophy on his resume, the organization may find him to not be the coach to get them to the next level.
He would be out-coached by his mentor and friend Tony Dungy in Super Bowl XLI against the Indianapolis Colts. Whispers within the organization feel that this is the year, and if Smith doesn’t bring this team far in the playoffs, there may be a new head coach in town.
I’ve taken a turn on Smith. Two seasons ago, I wanted him out as the Bears coach. And he responded by taking the Bears to the NFC Championship game before losing to the Green Bay Packers. Last season, the team was playing really well until injuries occurred to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte.
The Bears have addressed this potential depth issue with the additions of quarterback Jason Campbell and running back Michael Bush, so this lack of depth was recognized by the new general manager.
They also attempted to improve the defense by drafting Shea McClellin to help improve the pass rush. His players love him as a coach and he is very respected around the league. Look no further than Julius Peppers that left the Carolina Panthers and wanted to play for Smith. He wouldn’t even entertain offers from other teams. Quite a compliment to Smith’s reputation around the league.
Regardless of how the story ends with Smith, I think it’s fair to call him a good NFL head coach and class act. That being said, having a NFL championship would help build his legacy. Here’s to hoping that occurs…
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