Thursday, January 3, 2013

For the Record: Lovie Sads and What's Next Edition

Erik, our newest esteemed colleague, is represented by mashed potatoes. HE KNOWS WHY.



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This season was certainly a disappointment. Life as a Bears fan is full of disappointment…but this one was unique. They’ve never raised hopes so high and then crushed them in such a long, methodical fashion. There was no easy, quick collapse like last year, when we all could say “well, if they had Jay…” This year they had everything they should have needed. At some point they just stopped playing good football, nearly across the board. In those situations, fair or not, the blame has to fall on the only thing that connects all of those players. Lovie paid the price. Even if it wasn’t his fault, even those of us who’ve always been in his corner conceded that there was little to be said in his defense. The Bears were patient. They gave him four chances at getting the offensive coordinator right. They threw QBs and players under the bus to protect him. They threw Jerry Angelo in front of the train to protect him…and in the end, he was the last man standing. You can’t win every power struggle and then expect to avoid the blame when everyone else you could have blamed is gone.

I will miss Lovie Smith. You can never truly tell with such things, but I believe he was a good man. He brought respectability back to this franchise. I’ve been frustrated, but rarely embarrassed, to call myself a Bears fan during his tenure. His philosophy works, but things never came together the way they needed to. Such things happen. Cowher took 14 years to win his Superbowl with the same formula. Such patience is hard to find.

He certainly had his issues. His devotion to his philosophy alternately strengthened and crippled him. It allowed his team to consistently limit big plays and get big takeaways…but kept him from recognizing when the four man rush was failing, when the blitz was necessary…when that 20 yard catch and sprint by the RB was eventually going to be a big f*&king deal. His greatest failure was that he knew nothing of offense, and trusted it to the wrong people. That cost him his job, and no one can say they lacked the justification needed to do so.

So goodbye, Lovie. We like you, we respect you, we thank you, we wish you well, but more importantly, we’re ready to move on.

Iggins!
That last thing there is the most surprising thing to me. Like you said, I don't think any of the three of us has any contempt for Lovie. He fielded good teams, epsecially great defenses and special teams units. But the offenses killed him. Cutler hasn't panned out over his first 4 years, flailing between awfulness and greatness. His offensive coordinators have been a marching band of fail. Turner was too plain, Martz was too crazy and had to be neutered, Tice was running two offenses at once and wasn't great at either of them.

But yeah, even though I don't have an issue with Lovie, it was time. His consistent okayness had become unacceptable. Eventually strides forward need to be made, and Lovie hadn't made any noticeable strides in many years. Time to cut the cord.

I'm sad to see him go, because he's probably the second-best coach in Bear history, but this team should be competing for Super Bowls, not missing the playoffs. Like you said, everyone else who could have been fired has been fired. He's the only one left.

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What were we talking about? I was going to do an alternate, gloating piece in which I examine each of Red's arguments in favor of Lovie staying and why they didn't save his job. I'll save my sad recollection for that.

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Well, that’s only fair.

It’s definitely going to be an offensive minded head coach next. If it’s McCoy I think the likelihood that they give Cutler one more year goes up. He has Denver ties, has worked with Marshall in the past, was able to adjust his playbook for both Tebow and Peyton Manning, so he seems like a guy they’d hire to give one last crack at sparking the Cutler light bulb. If he fails, you don’t blame him and you let him pick the new guy.

Iggins!
As far as I understand, teams don't generally allow their guys to interview until the season est finis, but bye weeks are okay? So the Bears could conceivably interview him pretty quick? I'd wait for Arians, personally. If they both get interviewed and McCoy is who Emery likes, okay, but hopefully they don't just jump at him.

They haven't fired Tice yet. That seems rude.

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It’s standard procedure on both, actually. You can interview during bye weeks as long as the team gives permission, which they’re supposed to do unless they intend to offer a similar job to said person, so technically the Broncos can’t really refuse unless they then offer McCoy the head coaching job.

Also, they usually don’t fire assistants before they hire the new coach. It’s his job to make that decision. Whoever they hire may end up keeping Marinelli, honestly.

Iggins!
So long as bro likes the 4-3, I guess. Marinelli is a very serviceable defensive coordinator. Will we see more blitzes now?! 3-4?! MADNESS. I don't understand anything outside of the 4-3 cover 2!

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I still like the Cover 2 though. I mean, shit, don’t need to fix what ain’t broken. Just get a coach who knows a damn thing about offense and leaves the defense to his coordinator, rather than the opposite, which is what we’ve done for the last 20 years.

Iggins!
I like the cover two right up until someone yells PREVENT. Just take the current defensive playbook, forget the prevent exists, and BAM.

Really, Lovie got fired because of the five wide, prevent defense, and the lack of Forte screens this year.

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I was saying much the same thing as the Lions marched downfield yesterday. The defense was working! Why shift to another, worse defense?

Marinelli will get the axe when a new head coach comes, that's just the way it is. And it makes me sad, because he almost certainly bears the least of the blame for this. The defense led the league in takeaways, and had the league leaders in forced fumbles and interceptions. They sent four players to the Pro Bowl. They allowed 17 points per game with an offense that could do little more than punt all season long. In short, this was the defense of the championship team, and they were hobbled by the offense of... I don't know, a decent high school?

Part of me wants to say Jon Gruden could whip this offense into shape, but my bone-deep hatred for Jon Gruden prevents me from saying he'd be a good choice. On the plus side, he'd stop covering games if he was a coach again, so that might not be so bad.

Iggins!
Jon Gruden as the head coach would kill me inside in ways I may never recover from. So who among the candidates are we rooting for here? McCoy? The Dallas ST coach seems like a stupid move, as does the Atlanta ST coach. If we were going to grab a special teams coach we may as well go for Toub, right? He's been a great special teams coach for a long time. I'm still hoping for Arians, but the Bears will have to wait for the Colts to be eliminated to talk to him, so hopefully the Colts lose to the Ravens and we can get this thing moving.

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Oh god. Anyone but Gruden. I guess at the moment I’m rooting for McCoy. Jesus, the Dallas ST coach. I don’t want to discriminate, but f*&k em. I want an offensive coach.

Iggins!
I just think you should have to coordinate something, not to be a dick, but something important, before you get an HC job. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED WITH LANE KIFFIN. You need to see how good someone is first. McCoy did get the best out of Orton and Tebow as well as PeyPey, so that's a pretty good sign. He's also worked with Marshall before. He seems like a great fit. I'd still like them to wait to interview Arians, but I wouldn't complain if it was him. I WOULD complain if it was any of these other guys they've been linked to, especially Gruden. That would be worse than the Rex Ryan apocalypse I thought was going to happen.

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McCoy is my favorite option on the table by far. If anybody can put this team back together, I have to believe it'd be him. Anybody who can make Tebow a playoff contender can make this offense a threat to at least score 20 fucking points in an hour.

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Yeah, my vote’s for McCoy, too. We should wrap this up.

Iggins!
Eat me. Fine. GO BE SAD AND REFLECT.

7 comments:

Goose said...

What's wrong with Gruden? I think he's a good fit. He's a firey guy, who knows offense and QBs. And took a team (The Bucs) that couldn't quite get over the top with a great coach (Dungey), and won a championship with them.

But then again, I find Gruden very amusing as a commentator, and you guys seem to disagree, so maybe I'm missing something.

And I 100% agree with everything you guys said about Lovie.

Code Red said...

It's mostly the fact that he can't develop young players for shit, hates the draft, overspends on veteran talent, and throws his players under the bus far too often.

Look at Gruden's career in Tampa AFTER the Superbowl win. A few bumfuck playoff appearances at 11-5 and 9-7 followed by losing seasons, a revolving door at QB because he tries to patch up the position with veterans every year...Gruden's a fine X's and O's guy, but he has no idea how to manage a roster.

Iggins! said...

What Red said. He won a Super Bowl year in year 1 with Tampa. Then, in the next six seasons, he had three winning years, two of which were 9-7, and never won another playoff game. He used what was constructed by Dungy to win immediately, then killed that organization. And he is, as Red has said, so terrible with QBs.

Lovie was also a good Xs and Os coach, but he couldn't understand offense or hire for shit. Gruden is a similarly talented Xs and Os guy, but he Dusty Baker's his whole roster. Do you want Dusty Baker to coach the Bears?!

Erik said...

I just hate Jon Gruden, and want to punch him in the head every single time the grunts and squeals that he thinks are words come out of his mouth. I wouldn't mind if he'd just stick to doing the color commentary, but then he pulls away to the studio to show you pictures of Andy Reid's car from the 1980's or some shit and it makes steam come out of my ears.

However, I think he'd be a better option as head coach than some of the options they've presented thus far. Certainly than either of the ST guys, if only because I think Toub is better than either of them and already knows the team.

Code Red said...

Or they could hire a young, innovative coach instead of a media-personality retread. I don't think Phil Emery's going the route of hiring someone who has already failed as a head coach.

Goose said...

I'd take a super bowl in year 1 (especially if that means Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman and Peppers all get a ring) and a melt down afterwards lol.

But you raise good points about his roster management. I dont want to see B Marsh turn into Keyshawn Johnson.

Iggins! said...

Actually, I'll take that too, Goose. If we're keeping Cutler, that's kind of what we're going for, isn't it?