Yikes! It is even worse than I thought! Even Chicago’s motley fool sportwriters are finally waking up. For weeks I have been saying the season was over and so should it be fore Lovie Smith. He has consistently been out-coached by every coach he has faced. His defense is in tatters. His vaunted cover two has proven cover no one. The Bears have no offensive line. They are making a lot more turnovers than touchdowns. But I’ve been saying this for weeks as you can see in my old posts on this site. There is no excuse for the local writers could not see that until this week. Here are some of their comments:
MINNEAPOLIS — The Bears were awful Sunday.
This is unmistakably, unequivocally true because the headmaster of happy talk said they were.
“We feel like crap,” coach Lovie Smith said after the Vikings pounded his team 36-10.
Smith admitting the Bears played poorly is like China admitting a fundamental weakness. And hearing him use the word “crap” is like hearing Donny Osmond ask what a guy has to do to get a cigarette and a beer around here. So here was final proof that the season is not just gone, but that it’s a disastrous, washed-out affair that should come with an ark and animals two by two. Let’s be clear. Sunday wasn’t a surprise. Minnesota is one of the better teams in the NFL, and the Bears are one of the better teams in Lake Forest.
This was a first-hand glimpse of just how far the Bears are from true excellence. They looked at it up close and couldn’t possibly have recognized themselves in what they saw from first-place Minnesota. They are not an offseason away from the 10-1 Vikings. They’re a major rebuilding project away from the Vikings.
Forget what people tell you about the NFL being the incubator for amazing turnarounds from year to year. The Bears won’t be one of those stories, not at the rate they’re going
The offensive line can’t block.
The running back can’t run.
The coach … well, how many different ways can you say it?
The quarterback, when he’s not getting sacked, can’t seem to avoid mistakes.
On defense, the Bears picked their poison Sunday, choosing to focus their attention on running back Adrian Peterson. And so it was that a 40-year-old geezer with closure issues made them pay with 392 passing yards and three touchdowns.”We took our chances to see if Brett Favre could beat us, and he did,” Bears defensive end Alex Brown said.Favre is a very good quarterback whom lots of otherwise sane people wanted to see go away in the offseason. He has a bad habit of not being able to make up his mind, retirement-wise. He’s also having one of his best seasons. On Sunday, he played in his 282nd consecutive game. He went over the 500-touchdown mark, rushing and passing. Like Favre, I could go on.
But what’s the point? He has made all his critics look silly.
Oh, and that Bears’ choice of poison? Peterson might have been “held” to 85 yards, but the Vikings rushed for 159 yards. “This is the most explosive offense I’ve seen in my entire life,” Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said. Speaking of blowing things up, let’s move on to the Bears coach and general manager. Whoever holds those positions next season will spend most of their time deciding how to begin. The Bears are 4-7. Smith has said that seasons are decided in November, and in this particular November, the Bears are 1-4.
There is nothing that happened Sunday, nor in six of the last seven games, that would suggest this is a good thing.
One of the biggest lures for the Bears or any NFL team to make a coaching change sooner rather than later is the availability of six Super Bowl winning coaches: Bill Cowher (Steelers), Mike Shanahan (Broncos), Mike Holmgren (Packers), Tony Dungy (Colts), Jon Gruden (Buccaneers) and Brian Billick (Ravens).
Just be careful what you wish for.
The record of Super Bowl winning coaches with new jobs is hit-and-miss at best. In fact, no Super Bowl-winning coach has EVER won a Super Bowl with another team. Bill Parcells (Patriots) and Mike Holmgren (Seahawks) lost the Super Bowl with their new teams and others have made the playoffs, but Hank Stram, Mike Ditka and George Seifert flopped in New Orleans, New Orleans and Carolina, respectively; Jimmy Johnson and Dick Vermeil produced playoff teams in Miami and Kansas City, but lost their Super Bowl touch.
The last five Super Bowl-winning coaches were hardly sought-after guys when they were hired. Mike Tomlin (Steelers) was a surprise pick who had been the offensive coordinator with the Vikings for one year. Tom Coughlin (Giants) was a retread. Dungy was a successful coach at Tampa Bay whose teams struggled in the playoffs. Cowher was a respected, but lower-profile coordinator with the Chiefs. And Bill Belichick was a retread.
Unless you have a sixth sense about these things — which only the Rooneys of Pittsburgh seem to have — you have just as good a shot with a Jim Haslett, who had a better winning percentage in New Orleans (45-51) than Belichick had in Cleveland (36-44) or a Dennis Green, who won with talent in Minnesota and lost without it in Arizona, as you have with a Brian Billick or Jon Gruden.
Mike Shanahan won one playoff game (1-4) after John Elway retired. Jon Gruden went 0-2 in the playoffs in six seasons after winning the Super Bowl; The Colts are 11-0 without Tony Dungy; Mike Holmgren built a winner in Seattle, but didn’t win his first playoff game with the Seahawks until his seventh season; and Brian Billick went 1-3 in the playoffs in seven seasons after winning the Super Bowl in 2000.
The Super Bowl-winning coach with a resume who should interest the Bears is Cowher. He took a team that went 7-9 under Chuck Noll in 1991 and turned it into an 11-5 playoff team in 1992 with Neil O’Donnell at quarterback and without adding a starter from outside the organization. He had 17 returning starters and four players who already were on the roster when he got there.
Cowher has had a knack for making the most out of what he’s got. He didn”t need a John Elway or Brett Favre or Peyton Manning to make the playoffs or win a Super Bowl. And he hired a pretty good coaching staff that included Dick LeBeau, Marvin Lewis and Dom Capers. If I’m breaking the bank on a guy with a ring, he’s the one to get.
BY MARK POTASH | Commentary
See. These two columns finally say it. Lovie’s gotta go!