Going, Going, Gone

Ugh, Chicago Bears!On Monday November 5th, 2012, the Bears had a 7-1 record and had just scored 50 points on an (albeit bad) team for the first time in 32 years. Super Bowl talk was in the air after the Bears had beaten up on largely inadequate competition.

Flash forward to December 17th. The Bears have lost five of their last six games, and now six in a row against their hated rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

I just heard that NFL analyst Hub Arkush still thinks the Bears will win their final two games at Arizona and Detroit and make the playoffs at 10-6. I do not. Not only do I think the Bears will not win at Detroit, I question whether they will beat the Cardinals.

Firstly on the Packers, I can’t help hating them. And I can’t believe I’m about to commit blasphemy by saying Aaron Rodgers and his receivers are so good that I would like to actually start wishing them well the rest of the year (since the Bears are obviously out).

Now don’t freak out, I’ve tried to attempt to wish the Packers well for many years and have never been honestly able to do it. But just because our biggest rival has successfully built a team with a dominating offense (regardless of their MANY flaws), what’s the reason to vehemently hate them because our team is continuously pathetic? Even from my mediocre seats in Soldier Field yesterday, I was amazed by watching Rodgers repeatedly thread the needle with passes we have NEVER seen from a Bears quarterback.

But anyway, every time I think about the potential for Lovie Smith and his staff to be dismissed, I just can’t help but worry about what the Bears organization will do to replace him. The team’s track record for hiring coaches is obviously littered with underwhelming decisions.

And given that Philadelphia and Cleveland are locks to fire their coaches and Arizona, Carolina, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Dallas and Kansas City may very well do so, the Bears would be in immediate competition to hire a competent full staff.

Let us remember that in 1993 Mike McCaskey went on a ski vacation at the end of the year while Mike Ditka twisted. In 1999, that same McCaskey completely screwed the pooch on his first choice then underwhelmed with the hire of nice guy Dick Jauron–and did it so late that every competent assistant coach already had a job. Then in 2004, Jerry Angelo embarked on a slow, methodical cross-country search, reportedly offering the job to Nick Saban, Jeff Tedford and Kirk Ferentz who all turned him down. Then he anointed Lovie Smith the savor when once again every other coaching hire had been made.

What makes us think they will make the right, decisive decision this time? As much as I’d love to see Sean Payton wriggle loose of the Saints and the Bears to make a gigantic offer for him, it’s not happening. Ditto Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden. Nobody knows if Cowher ever wants to come back, and I suspect Philadelphia will pounce on Gruden, making him theirs quickly.

Should they fire Smith and eat his $6 million salary next year, which is not at all a lock, who then would they hire? Chip Kelly? Doubtful. A hot assistant such as Tom Clements, Mark Roman or Rick Dennison? Maybe. Might the McCaskey family intervene and decide that the Bears’ tradition of hiring defensive coaches for the head job needs to continue forever? Very likely. Would they base their search first on whether the person is a “fine man” that toes the organizational line in a quiet manner? (See Wannstedt, Jauron and Smith). I believe that would be the first concern with the hire, which is not the way to ensure a successful football future.

So no, I’m not optimistic no matter what happens. Following a team that has dropped 29 of their last 39 games to their hated rival has something to do with that.

13 Responses to “Going, Going, Gone”

  1. Forget the fact we lost by 8 points, and at least 2 pass interference calls were horrible. Bad breaks are part of the game unfortunately, and we got screwed a couple of times.

    Our offense is a joke, our defense is old and incapable, and Lovie needs to go, end of story. If you can’t see that the discrepancy between our talent and theirs is as wide as the distance between here and Orlando, you’re either blind or stupid, and no offense to the blind, I am just making a point.

    I want everyone to stop making excuses for Lovie, with more that one GM, injuries, etc. He’s been here 9 years, and netted next to nothing. Get rid of him NOW. The Packers did their best to give this game to us, but you have got to be F&*%ing kidding me when from 1st and goal from the 5 nets 3 points and from one of the dumbest special teams calls ever another 3, is absolutely ridiculous.
    We let Rodgers, Finely and Matthews dance around like idiots all day long on our field, and it was completely embarrassing.

    I don’t care if we mathematically still have a chance, we don’t deserve to get in, not with an offense like this. I understand fully it is the Browns, but the Redskins put almost 40 on the board in their backup QB’s first ever career start. As someone said here recently, if we lose to the Cardinals, a real possibility, Lovie should be canned before the post game press conference even starts.

  2. The only reason why this game was close: The Packer’s Kicker really, really sucks.

  3. As I said last week, I’m a pretty level headed and fair guy, but I was not liking what I was seeing. And, I wasn’t even shocked of yesterday’s result. Once again, the offense fails to show up in a winnable game against the Packers. I get Rogers made some plays, but news flash, he’s a great player. Great players make plays. Two of his passes to Jones were undefendable. Also, on the blitz where he escaped from the pocket and heaved a pass to Cobb, you can’t defend that, either. That’s what makes him great. Yet, when the Bears had control of the game for most of the first half, they only could muster one TD. And, they were gift wrapped two other chances to score TDs, but couldn’t.

    I didn’t call him out here, but I called Cutler out in the first Packers game. It was time to show up against them. I’m not saying he’s all to blame, but he deserves his fair share, that’s for sure. For as great the Packers and Rodgers offense is, other than the Christmas game last year, every other game they’ve played recently have all been winnable if the offense had even played decent. But, it’s the same thing every year. It’s time to bring in an offensive coach. The defense is good enough to win in today’s NFL. This is a offensive/passing league.

    With a new GM, no one is safe here, including Cutler. I’m perfectly fine with an offensive assistant as the new coach. Something needs to change. It’s nice to have a good defense, but without a good offense, you can’t win today.

  4. As good as Rodgers is I’d love to see how well he would perform with everything Cutler has had to contend with since joining the Bears. Three offensive coaches now isn’t it and a non exsistent o-line since day 1. Rodgers can move around the pocket as much as he wants to because in part he knows he has lineman that are at least working to stop him getting hit. He also knows he has more than just one decent reciever who knows how to run correct routes.

    And so once again the offence needs to start again but a big clear out is needed. First to go has to be Tice and the rebuilding has to be done around Cutler.

    Over to you Emery….

  5. Dave, Rodgers is the most sacked QB in the NFL this year. They also don’t have a running game. Yet, he still finds ways to make it work, which is what great players do. This Packers team is not the dominating team they were in the past couple of seasons. They have plenty of injuries and a terrible kicker to boot. Yet, they are still finding ways to win. But, I do agree being in the same system his whole career hasn’t hurt him…

    As for his receivers, sure they are good, but none of them are great. I’ve seen James Jones screw up multiple times. While we would die to have Jermichael Finley right now, the Packers can’t wait to get rid of him. Rodgers makes them better than they are. I’m not saying they are slouches by any means, but the throws Rodgers makes are so on the money it’s unbelievable. And yet, I was told by many Packers fans he wasn’t that good…

  6. I think it’s definitely time for a regime change @ Halas Hall.

  7. I can see wondering if the Bears will beat the Cardinals, since they seem to be in such a free fall that they might not even beat the teams they should beat easily. But, after yesterday, wouldn’t you say that if they beat the Cardinals they should beat the Lions too?

    Grabber, if you think there’s a big discrepancy in talent between us and Green Bay, isn’t that on the GM?

    I like to be optimistic, but I will say that I expect the Bears to miss the playoffs. They just seem to be falling, and don’t have the ability to get themselves up and play a full game. For 1 quarter yesterday, they looked like the equal of the Packers. Then Cutler (or Hester) made a mistake, the defense got torched by Rodgers, and the whole team seemed to give up. If the team can’t fix that in the next two games, then they won’t make the playoffs and don’t deserve to. If they can? Well, the NFL is crazy–who knows what could happen.

    If they do miss the playoffs, I think there has to be large changes. How accommodating Lovie is to those changes will have a large impact as to whether he stays, in my opinion. I think Tice has to go. I imagine Urlacher will go (doubt he takes a lower salary to stay, and his recent comments makes me think he’s tired of Chicago). If Lovie refuses to give up his guys, I imagine he’ll go. If he’s willing to take changes forced on him? Who knows–he does still have a year on his contract.

    One more thing I’ll say (repeating what I said on twitter). I know a lot of people want a guy like Bill Cowher to come here. In 2003 Cowher was coming off of missing the playoffs 4 out of the last 6 seasons. The next year he went 15-1 (losing in the AFC Championship) and the next one after that they won the Super Bowl.

    I’m not saying Lovie’s going to have a late-career renaissance like Cowher did, or that we’ll find a guy like Roethlisberger in the draft to rejuvinate the franchise like the Steelers did. But people remember the total of a guy’s career, and forget how it was as it happened. There’s no guarantee that a Cowher or Gruden is going to come in and be better than Lovie.

    (I would take Payton, though. He’s close to having coached recently.)

  8. Kenneth, I have said the same thing about Cowher many times. He had his lean times in Pitt, and they got sick of him there. He also went through many coordinators, too. But, the Rooneys stuck with him because they don’t like firing people. It worked out. One has to ask how much in Pitt was him and how much was the football operations. Pitt has won a Super Bowl and been to another since he left. I think he’s a good coach, but he’s been behind the microphone way too long. When coaches get confortable, they don’t really have the urge to do it again. I expect Andy Reid to take at least a year off because of this. His family has had numerous issues, and he probably wasn’t around enough.
    I said before Gruden is the most overrated coach of this era. I’m not against hiring him for the simple fact I won’t have to listen to him on MNF. He’s worse than Madden. But, people need to look at his entire tenure in Tampa and not just like him because he made cool faces.
    Bottom line, if Lovie misses the playoffs, that be six of nine years he’s here without an apperance. I don’t think he’s a terrible coach like some suggest. I think he’s a fine defensive coach. However, he put his eggs in the basket by handing the OC to Tice, and it simply hasn’t worked. He’s on his fourth OC. You can’t keep doing this. It hasn’t worked, and it’s time to bring in someone else. I won’t feel sorry for Lovie. He will get another job without any issues.

  9. Some good talk going on here, nice work fellas.

    Cutler and Rodgers pretty much have the same porous offensive line. Cutler has a far better running game. Rodgers has good receivers, but how much of that is Rodgers MAKING them good receivers? Look at Peyton Manning, wherever the guy is, he makes the WRs better around him, I think the same can be said of Rodgers, Brees, and Brady. Cutler is good and has always had potential to be great, but he’ll never be great. I think he can still win a Super Bowl, but let’s stop looking at his potential and accept him for what he is, a talented mobile gunslinger.

    One thing I always remember in the NFL: no team is as good or as bad as their last game. If the Bears can somehow make a run and win these two games, they could be going into the playoffs with a hot hand and who knows what can happen. All it takes is GETTING IN, just ask the Giants.

  10. And and please no Cowher or Gruden. Hire a young(ish) up and comer because the game has changed a lot since those guys have coached.

  11. Thanks for all the comments, guys. Just wanted to voice my opinion that the appeal of Cowher for a lot of years was that he always kept his Steelers competitive while they kept losing their talent year after year. Despite the fact, as pointed out, that his teams missed the playoffs a lot of years, they were always on the verge. But agreed, I don’t think he’s coming back to coaching. I still would love to see what Gruden would do with Cutler, but I think he’s going to land in Philly.

  12. Re: Kenneth’s question on accountability and the talent gap of us vs. Packers, that can’t be put that on Emery since he just got here. But sure put that on Angelo’s shoulders even though he’s long gone, and Lovie needs to be right there with him on accountability and blame – this is not any groundbreaking revelation.

    Those two worked together for years shaping rosters, and while Lovie had some early success against the Packers, we all know the trend in recent years has completely swung in the other direction. There’s no disputing the massive talent gap between us and them across the board, it’s not just about Rodgers vs.
    Cutler. The gap has been obvious for some time, and large scale changes need to be made.

    Too many people are already worried about who’s next, how will the Bears screw it up this time, etc. The bottom line is, changes must be made, and Lovie is certainly not where it ends either, and the changes need to start as soon as this team doesn’t make the playoffs. Not just here but in general, I’ve also heard a lot of people trying to make the case the Bears could be the Giants like they did when they won their last 2 and went on a roll, but again, what we have in the way of talent is not anything like what the Giants had.

  13. All I have to add is two years in a row of this crap is no fun. Sucks being a Bears fan. Cue some Tom Petty indeed.

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