It happens at the end of every NFL season. Some teams do not do as well as their respective owners hoped, and as a result the head coaches are almost always the first ones to go.
This past season was no different. The Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals all fired their head coaches. There is one team who I feel should not have fired its coach: the Chicago Bears.
I do not think the Bears were fair in firing Lovie Smith. Smith was saddled with a poor coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice did little to make the offense less predictable after QB Jay Cutler returned from injury. Plus it’s hard to respect a member of the coaching staff when your franchise QB doesn’t.
He was also plagued by poor personnel decisions by the since-departed Jerry Angelo. Anyone check out how bad that offensive line was? Cutler took repeated beatings all season, even when things were going well during that 7-1 start. Also Jason Campbell was not the answer at backup QB. The Bears’ mid-season swoon started when he stepped in for the then-injured Cutler.
We won’t go through all the injuries the Bears suffered this season. After all, injuries are the ultimate equalizers in the NFL. Smith still managed to lead his team through those injuries and his players never quit because of them.
And Smith won 10 games despite all those things – 10 games!
There is one thing for sure, Smith will not be out of work for very long. Look for some teams who need a kick in the ass defensively (Philly and Buffalo I am looking squarely at you) to take a shining to Smith.
And while the Bears have a talented enough roster, it is also an old one. The Vikings are younger and hungrier, and have passed the Bears in the NFC North. Good luck finding a coach outside of Andy Reid who could keep the Bears in the division’s driver’s seat.