The formula was simple for the decision at Halas Hall. This year alone, the team started at 7-1, lost five of its last eight games, missed the playoffs despite a 10-6 record, and never could get a rhythm going offensively. Smith hired an inexperienced offensive coordinator in Mike Tice with arguably the most talent at the skilled positions ever in Bears history and were one of the worst offenses in the league.
Even after acquiring Brandon Marshall, the offense went from 24th to 28th in total yards and 26th to 29th in passing. Sure the defense did its part, Smith’s specialty, but as a head coach, you have a lot more responsibilities than just what you’re good at and Smith couldn’t put it together completely.
In his tenure, Smith went 81-63 here in Chicago but failed to make the playoffs in five of the last six seasons. He’s made one Super Bowl appearance in nine seasons. He’s had three different offensive coordinators in four years. With a new GM in place in Phil Emery, and George McCaskey now making the football decisions within the family, it was time for a change. With that said, where do the Bears go from here?
I believe a philosophy change needs to be made in Lake Forest. The Bears have had a defensive-minded head coach in that position for twenty years. The days of protecting leads and playing tight defense is over in the NFL. The league itself has put in place so many new rules to make the game more offensive-friendly.
The way to win in today’s game is to be able to adapt. Just look at the past three Super Bowl winning head coaches. Tom Coughlin was an offensive guy who came from the Bill Parcells coaching tree. Mike McCarthy was an offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints and for the San Francisco 49ers before landing with the Green Bay Packers.
The 2010 Super Bowl champion coach was Sean Payton, a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator early in his career before becoming a head coach. Even Bill Belichick, a defensive-minded coach, knows how to adapt and has helped lead one of, if not, the most prolific offenses we have seen in the NFL.
It’s time for an offensive guy to step in and take the Bears back to the Super Bowl. With offensive weapons like Marshall and Matt Forte, a good quarterback in Jay Cutler, and an emerging talent in Alshon Jeffrey, this team cannot waste another opportunity like they had this year with mediocre coaching.