Head West, Lovie Smith

By Jimmy Johnson
Chicago Bears Lovie Smith
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Lovie Smith craves speed on defense.

The former head coach of the Chicago Bears built a fast-flowing defense that appeared in two NFC Championships, one Super Bowl and created lots of turnovers throughout his nine-year coaching career in the Windy City.

Smith didn’t win a Super Bowl in Chicago, but there’s no denying he’s a head coach that players admire and respect. He’s expected to interview for the Buffalo Bills‘ head coaching vacancy this week, but Smith should be thinking of a warmer destination: the Arizona Cardinals.

Arizona Cardinals Patrick Peterson
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wherever Smith lands, he’ll continue to run a defense that’s predicated off the 4-3 with calls that range between cover-2 and man coverage. He comes from the defensive school of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy ‘s Tampa-2 defense. Smith would inherit a defense in Arizona that has some young and rising players could would fit well into what he’ll try to accomplish on defense: Daryl Washington, Darnell Dockett, Patrick Peterson and Adrian Wilson. All four are more than capable enough to play in a 4-3 defense. While defensive linemen Dan Williams and Calais Campbell are undeniably talented, they might be too big to play in Smith’s defense where defensive linemen are typically lighter and quicker.

But coaching in Arizona’s University of Phoenix Stadium – which has a retractable roof  – would be a major selling point for Smith to coach the Cardinals. Smith managed to help coach players that were speed orientated in Chicago, and playing in an indoor facility might maximize the most out of the players he’d covet and coach on defense – which is an area he was extremely hands on with in Chicago .

The downfall on hiring Smith for the Cardinals – and other teams interested in interviewing him – would be concerns about his lack of knowledge of offense. At least, it’s safe to say Smith doesn’t know much about coaching offense since the Bears ranked as high as 15th in the league in total offense during his nine-year coaching career in Chicago.

If Smith lands back on his feet and does snag one of these openings, the general manager of that respective franchise will have to help Smith gather offensive players so his defensive efforts don’t go to waste – which was the reason that led to his demise in Chicago.

But if the Cardinals are looking to get the most of their defense- which actually has more than one talented player versus their offense that only has Larry Fitzgerald – they should consider hiring Smith.

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