Bears Hopes Tied to Lovie 2

Simple as this.  We can talk about those that want Kyle Orton back instead of Jay Cutler.  We can talk about the poor play of the offensive line and the bad personnel decisions made there.  Matt Forte’s demise, talentless wide receivers.  But simple as this-as long as Lovie Smith is the head coach of the Chicago Bears, unless he can figure out how to get the “Lovie 2″ to work without virtually all of its required components, this team will not win.

We’ll be calling it the “Lovie 2″ from now on since the Bears are virtually the only team left in the NFL running it as their base package.  It can no longer be the Tampa 2, as Tampa abandoned it.

The Lovie 2 requires the following components not only to be effective but simply to function.  The key is a disruptive defensive tackle at the three-technique position commanding double teams and penetrating into the backfield.  In addition to that key component, the pass rush overall must be effective.  The will and mike linebackers are key.  The will (weak) is frequently around the ball while the mike (middle) is key to covering the middle of the field in pass coverage, be the zone short or deep.  Lastly, the corners must jam receivers on the line, knocking them off their routes to give the defensive line a split second more to disrupt the quarterback’s timing.

The will linebacker is still there-Lance Briggs-and he’s having yet another career season.  Other than Briggs, everything else is missing.  Everything.  Nick Roach is not a fraction of Brian Urlacher.  The pass rush is totally ineffective, no sacks in two games and rarely applying pressure.  Enemy receivers are being left untouched by defensive backs, shredding the Bears zones.

And Tommie Harris is having his usual issues.  Shortly we’ll find that he’s officially washed up.

We know Smith won’t abandon his principles and philosophy.  So, someone tell me how we win again until 2012 when the coach will be gone?

26 Responses to “Bears Hopes Tied to Lovie 2”

  1. I’m not going to get all doom and gloom just yet. Yes, the game was awful. Yes, the Atlanta game should have been won but I think the next few weeks will be the tell as to how well or how poorly this team will finish. Most people are still failing to take into account that there are 6 or 7 new players on offense and the defense has been shuffled around 3 or 4 times at least already this year.

    While I agree that the Tampa 2 is a dinosaur, I would counter argue that it still worked fairly effectively when all the key components where still in it and playing up to their usual caliber. The major problem that I’ve noticed is in the linebacking rotation, I don’t think trying to apply maximum pressure on every play is the answer. It’s putting too much responsibility on a young secondary. If you leave guys like Bowman and Afalava back there against guys like Roddy White, Donald Driver, Chad Johnson ( I am NOT calling him Ochocino) there going to get torched, they just don’t have the experience to read the opposing offense yet.

    The next couple weeks will be the litmus test. Let’s see if Lovie can make the changes and use the tools that he has work. I think there is still a ton of talent on that defense but they’re not being used properly. Lovie was always the one that preached overcoming adversity, so let’s see if he can actually do it. Besides, it seems to be like they catch one really bad ass whipping every season, this year it was the Bengals, last year it was the Packers, the Cowboys in ’07, Miami in ’06…. that’s all I can remember off the top of my head.

    I just refuse to get caught up in all this nonsense that the media and certain “fans” are spitting. I personally think it’s a bunch of garbage. I don’t buy for one second that Lovie is a bad coach, and anyone who says it needs to do a little homework. I have some issues with Turner, but ultimately I believe that they will be corrected (hopefully by his dismissal). I would suggest that you all turn off 670 and stop reading the paper for a few weeks and stop swallowing everything you’re fed. That is all.

  2. Great post, Roy. Nail on the head. The Bears D has a plan without the personnel to execute it, yet stubbornly sticks to that plan.

    Sorry Brad, I can’t agree w/you. But for a couple missed field goals this team should be 1-5. The Bears suck. Let me say that again: The 2009 Chicago Bears Suck. I think it has a lot to do with the coaching. And I would like nothing better than to eat those words … yes, they’ll beat the Browns–big F’ing deal–but this team is not playoff bound, not even close (like last year).

    5-11, 6-10 maybe.

  3. Brad – I don’t really think Roy is talking gloom and doom, he’s just talking reality, and he’s on point. Bottom line, Lovie and Angelo are ultimately responsible for the roster as it is constructed, so it’s a weak excuse to say guys here or there are still transitioning into roles. It’s now Week 7, we’re not in Bourbonnnais anymore – it’s simply time to put up or shut up.

    Investing significantly by bringing in supposedly talented guys like Omiyale or washed up Rams like Pace, Adam Archuletta, etc., as well as poor draft selections, are decisions Lovie and Angelo made. They thought a lot of these moves were the right ones, and a lot of these kinds of moves have not panned out. But, I do give credit to Angelo for having the guts to get Cutler. Anyone saying they would have kept Orton just doesn’t know football.

    Lovie needs to be accountable for this defense, and it does not work. This is now being consistently proven. Football is not watching receivers touched at the line, then pushed to the wideopen middle of the field with no one in sight for 25-30 yard gains on a regular basis. After a fair start, the Dline has done nothing at all in 2 games. And I really don’t think we have a lot of defensive talent depth either, to be honest.

    I know many Lovie backers will be quick to point out he’s one of the “winningest” coaches in the league since 2005. The reality is, after 2 quick playoff berths the first two years of his contract and one SB berth, Lovie hasn’t done much of anything, and unless things get turned around now, this will be 3 straight years of no playoffs. That’s not acceptable and not nearly good enough. If we don’t get in the playoffs this year, he SHOULD be gone, but won’t.

  4. No question that the Bears were poorly coached and were not ready to play. That said, the Bears are 3-3 and have played 5 decent games. We’ll see if the team that played Cincy are the real Bears or if it was a crazy fluke as the season progresses.

    Almost every team has a crazy game every year. Among the last Super Bowl winners:

    2008 Pittsburgh lost 31-14 to Tennessee late in the year with the division on the line.
    2007 NY Giants lost 45-35 (Dallas) and 35-13 (Green Bay) to start the season and all looked lost.
    2006 Indy lost 44-17 to Jacksonville in December with the division still on the line.
    2005 Pittsburgh lost 38-31 (Cincy) and 27-6 (Indy) in back to back games during the season and Pittsburgh looked like it was out of the playoffs.
    2004 New England lost 34-20 to Pittsburgh
    2003 New England lost 31-0 on opening day to Buffalo and it looked like it was going to be a long season.
    Let’s wait and see what happens in a few weeks. If the Bears don’t finish 9-7 or better and make the playoffs then a case can be made for making a lot of coaching changes, but it is way too early to panic.

  5. Well said, Grabber.

  6. You’re grabbing at straws, Rob. This team is done. THEY CAN’T RUN THE BALL.

    5-11, 6-10 MAYBE.

  7. Calling for a coaches head after a loss like this is foolish. The reason why I avoid talk after a loss because it’s the same tired arguement every game. Ditka’s teams got his ass kicked how many times when they played at Candlestick? I seem to remember some unmemberable games at the Metrodome, too. Was his head called for after every loss? Hell, this attitude existed when people were acting like the Bears were 1-7 instead of 7-1 in 2006. That said, if the Bears don’t make the playoffs, then he should be replaced. As already mentioned, most teams have a game where they get beat badly.

    As for the Cover 2 debate, it is not a new defense. It is a two deep zone and it was used in the 60s (OB and Doug have mentioned this). The Bears only use the type of formation about a third of the time, and they blitz as much as any team in the NFL. ANY defense/offense is good when you have the personnel to run it. There is a reason why the 46 isn’t used much. No team had the personnel like the Bears of the 80s. If the Bears went to a 3-4, it would be an even bigger disaster. Why? They don’t have the players to run it.

  8. As for those of you that are doom and gloom, here are some recent trends in the NFL:

    Tampa was 9-3 last season and they were for sure going to the playoffs. They miss the playoffs, and haven’t even won a game since.

    The Jets were 8-3 and everyone was all over the Favre love. They go 1-4 and miss the playoffs.

    Arizona got beat and beat badly on the road on numerous occasions last year. They also had the worst rushing offense in the NFL. They only got into the playoffs with a 9-7 record being in the worst division in football. No way this team was going to win a playoffs game. They went to the Super Bowl.

    The Packers, who were struggling a bit, killed the Bears 37-3 to move into a three way tie for first place. The media was going crazy, saying teh Pack was back, they are going on a run, etc. They lose their next five games and could only muster a win against the Lions in week 17.

    The Eagles looked bad for a bit, and had a 5-5-1 record. They ended up going to the playoffs.

    Dallas was another team that was almost certain to go to the playoffs. They didn’t.

    The Broncos had a four game lead with four games to play in their division. They didn’t win the division.

    This is just last season alone. If the Bears lose to the Browns next week, by all means, go crazy. This is the NFL. No one knows what’s going to happen.

  9. We’ll see Jeff. I don’t understand why you want to stick a fork in the Bears today when there are 10 games left, but if that makes you happy more power to you.

    I’ll let the coaches coach, the players play and see what happens. At the end of the year I’ll assign blame and/or give credit.

  10. For me it isn’t that they lost it was how. Sure teams of past got beaten, and I accepted the loss at Atlanta because just got beat by bad mistakes and blown coverage here and there. The Bengals game was like watching the Bengals in a pick up game at the park. The Bears didn’t look like a Pro football team. There was no fight, it was almost like watching a whole team of Cedric Bensons from a couple years ago. I still don’t understand how professional receivers can just stand there with guys drapped over them and watch Cutler roll out and not try to move. The team just looked completely unprepared on all sides of the ball and maybe it would be better if Lovie gave up play calling responsibilities and focused on the whole team and pay for the mistake of keeping Babich as defensive “title only” coordinator and not finding someone else to come in and handle the defense giving Lovie the opportunity to get the whole team on one page. Just wow, can’t believe that shotty product was let out the door.

  11. Sorry Grabber, but it’s not a weak excuse. Two of the three starting receivers are rookies as well as two of the four DB’s. Things take time to gel and one bad game isn’t a foundation for a season, and that’s the reality. It doesn’t matter who the coach is, the unit on the field has to be playing as a group which was not the case on Sunday. I love this team but I hate the fans sometimes. Hire Gruden, hire Cowher, hire Holmgren, hire zombie Lombardi…. shut up already.

  12. Look, obviously I think we all hope we’re wrong on Lovie, but it’s not just one loss jdm, it has been a building trend of losing, and more disturbing, finding ways to lose close games under lovie. Yes, we went 9-7 last year, but if you don’t make the playoffs, that’s meaningless, just like people love to point out what lovie’s overall W-L is, when getting to and winning in the playoffs is what he’s getting paid to do and what matters most.

    And yes, sure all teams can have a bad game or two and survive, that’s stating the obvious. But as Hoss references there’s a difference between having a bad game, and showing no effort, pride, heart – whatever you want to say – and that’s what happened Sunday. That was a gutless effort by a defense that had every reason to be fired up – against a very predicitable offense, no less – and flat out laid down and quit within 5 minutes, if they ever even tried. And that’s Lovie’s defense – it’s HIS defense now, remember? And bottom line, that’s a reflection on Lovie. If we get into the playoffs, we’re all happy and this goes away. But criticism of Lovie is not new – it’s been building for a while, and there is merit to the criticism.

    Like I said earlier, bottom line, if we don’t get into the playoffs, he needs to go, otherwise, you’re already wasting time on Cutler’s deal.

  13. Grabber, there is nothing wrong for calling for a change at the END of the season. Three straight seasons of missing the playoffs is a legit reason for a change. And, I do think it would be time for a change if it does happen. The last time I checked, there are still ten games left, including six home games. The NFL should’ve taught us by now is that no one knows what is going to happen. While I don’t think Lovie and company are a great staff, I also don’t think they are morons, either. They are overall average, which can be a good or bad thing depending on what you are looking for. The biggest problem with football is that a bad loss like this lingers on for an entire week. In other sports, they are forgotten since teams can move on quicker. Calling for their heads after every loss is stupid. As I said before, Ditka had plenty of bad losses, but I don’t recall his head being called for every game. This includes 1992 when the team quit on him and he seemed to have lost it.

    As for the game itself, I would’ve felt the same way as I do now if the Bears lost by say, a FG or a TD. A loss counts is a loss, no matter how bad it was. Move on to the next game. That said, if the Bears lose to the Browns, I can’t really argue with the fire everyone chants…

  14. Brad: The receivers so far haven’t been the problem. So if the receivers needing to gel is your argument, yeah, it’s a weak one. Everyone one that field as a starter is there because Lovie wanted it that way, so that’s his responsibility, plain and simple. Sure, it’s on them to perform, obviously. And I don’t see how in the world you can say the coach doesn’t matter. Does it matter when your coach is a bumbling fool like Dick Jauron or Eric Mangini? Or when it’s Belicheck or Coughlin? Of course it does, and everyone knows that. Otherwise, what is the role of a head coach? Your argument and logic on that line of thought make no sense.

    Jdm – Not sure how you could watch that game and say you feel the same way now as you would have if they fought hard and lost at the end, instead of quitting from the outset and laughing on the sideline, but if that’s the way you want to look at it, fine by me.

  15. Grabber, I do not believe in heart, etc, or any of that. I also don’t believe in style points as some would call an “ugly” win. I only care about wins and losses. That’s it. In 91, the Bears started out the season 4-0 with four so called “ugly” wins. The next two games, they out played both Buffalo and Washington, the two teams that played in the Super Bowl. I did not care about looking respectable, caring, giving them a fight, etc. I also didn’t care they looked horrible for 58 1/2 minutes against New Orleans before pulling out a win. Sunday’s game counts the same if they would’ve lost by 1 or 35, one loss. Would the fire Lovie chants be any different if they lost a close game? I doubt it. I also wouldn’t be jumping for joy had the Bears won by 35, just happy they won. Because, the next week can be a completely different scenerio.

  16. It’s not just one game, It’s what we know now after six. They have no running game. They have no defensive secondary (outside Tillman). They have no pass rush. The coaching is not exceptional. They have a very talented QB who cannot perform to his ability because the lack of a front line, lack of a running game, lack of a true number 1 receiver. The receivers are not great, but are by no means the weakness of this team–and they do have some play makers. Special teams can do some really great things.

    All in all, a mixed bag, but far more negative than positive with a team that has no chance at the playoffs, and I am baffled how you can look at the past two games and pretend otherwise. Pointing out that so and so went 4-0 or 0-4 whatever season and ended up not making/making the playoffs is to ignore all of the above and throw these facts up in the air, hoping for a happy ending–and I so hope you are right. But nothing beyond hope. The fans are not poo-pooing, doom-and-glooming; the Bears have done that on the field and we’re just observing.

    The Browns game is no measuring stick, although I agree the timing cannot be better.

    By the way, I am getting all this negative off hoping I can come back and eat crow.

  17. Grabber why don’t you go back and actually read my posts instead of just skimming through them. My point was that unless the team is playing as a solid unit it makes no difference who the coach is, they won’t be able to win games. Sorry, it may have been over your head. What you’re doing is nagging at one aspect of the problem instead of seeing the whole picture.

  18. Jeff, you don’t speak for all fans when you say the Bears are causing fans to go doom-and-glooming.

    I watch the Bears games regularly at a local sports bar here in Maryland. The 6 regular fans I watch the games with each week are all long-time diehards who are transplanted from Chicago. None of us knew each other before this season but all of us still feel good about our Bears’ chances. That doesn’t mean we don’t think they have to make adjustments or that there are no concerns about what happened this week – but for Pete’s sake none of us are writing off the Bears 6 games in.

    I’m not trying to be confrontational and I have no problem with any fan expressing their opinion. If you want to give up on the Bears after 6 games be my guest. No one is asking you to support the team. You can jump back on the Bears bandwagon if things turn around or you can just stop watching and wait until next year.

  19. One other thing – just look at what happened last year.

    The Eagles started last year 3-3 (including the loss to Chicago where Alex Brown and the Bears held them on a goal line stand late in the game) and got blown away here in Baltimore 36-7 to go 5-5-1. They ended up winning 4 of their last 5 and got to the NFC Championship Game.

    The Cardinals lost 56-35 to the Jets early in the year to start 2-2. They got blown away 47-7 to the Patriots on the second to the last game of the season and barely made the playoffs. If you watched that game, you would know they looked horrible. They ended up in the Super Bowl.

    The Ravens lost 31-3 to Indy in the fifth game last year. Here in Baltimore, folks were calling for Harbaugh’s head after that game that left them 2-3. They ended up in the AFC Championship game.

    With the division on the line, Pittsburgh laid an egg and lost to the Titans 31-14 in the second to the last week of the season. They ended up as the Super Bowl Champs.

    As some folks have said above – this is what happens in the NFL. It’s a long season – GO BEARS!!!

  20. Rob — you’re right. Sorry for my over-the-top negativity in several comments yesterday. Needed to get it out of my system I guess. Of course I’m still not very optimistic, but we’ll see what happens against the Browns and especially the following week when the Cardinals come to town.

  21. Hey man, I was shaken by the loss and I totally understand. But in today’s NFL weird things happen. The Bears need to win by at least 2 TDs this week against the Browns and then that sets up a really good litmus test against the Cardinals at Soldier Field. If they win the next two games they are at 5-3 and in good shape. Let’s see what happens.

  22. Brad – I don’t think I missed your point, but it sure sounded to me like you said the head coach doesn’t matter for much. In any case, many of your points yesterday don’t make a whole lot of sense, but I don’t have time to bicker back and forth with you. And please, get a clue – if you look at my posts, you’ll see I am looking at the big picture, and not “nagging” about any one specific thing as you say. Hope those points aren’t over your head, friend.

    jdm – heart, desire, whatever words you want to use– maybe you missed my point, to take a page out of Brad’s wordsmithing handbook, because what I meant was, the bottom line is the Bears didn’t show up Sunday, period. Yes, again stating the obvious, it’s only one loss, we all get that, and Lovie always makes sure he reminds us. Bottom line, to have your coach say he failed to prepare his team to play, and seeing no effort whatsoever in a gutless effort, is inexcusable, period.

  23. You’re comprehension skills are questionable at best grabber.

  24. Brad – Thought I’d take the high road with your pre-K level observations, but I guess not. Please come to grips soon with your childish reading and writing skills you toolbag. To me you sound more like a lobotomized Packers fan than a Bears fan.

  25. Just read through all the posts – great dialogue…til the end! Funny stuff there. As a life-long, die-hard Bears fan living in Cleveland, the Bears MUST blow out the Browns this weekend, or our team is truly finished. If we can’t beat the Browns, we do not have the talent, heart or coaching to compete in the NFL. The Browns are HORRIBLE and the laughing stock of the league. So let’s get it done, boys – GO BEARS!!!

  26. Why is it so hard to accept the fact that when a team keeps losing it is time to dump the coach? It seems because he is black he will not get the blame. Any other coach would be gone! Forget about race and just get someone who can get these “prima donas” to earn their ridiculous salaries!

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