It's Officially Time To End the Lovie Smith Era In Chicago

Clay CunninghamCorrespondent INovember 8, 2009

A year ago, after the Bears suffered a frustrating divisional loss at Minnesota, I suggested the Bears should possibly consider making a coaching change at the end of the season due to a string of uninspired efforts. Now, after two humiliating losses in three weeks—arguably the least inspired two games I ever seen in 18 years of watching Bears games—it's time for fans to violently screech the suggestions I made in that earlier piece at the top of our lungs:


There are a string of problems with the Bears, no question, but the most noticeable is the decline of the supposedly "brilliant" defensive scheme, orchestrated by this alleged defensive "guru."

The parallels in the first half of the Bengals game two weeks ago and the Cardinals game today are stunning. Five opponent possessions, 31 points, 100 percent on third-down conversions, an endless number of shots of a befuddled Lovie's emotionless puckered lip face and an insurmountable halftime deficit resulted in a humiliating loss. The fact Lovie hasn't been able to make any adjustments of any kind speaks volumes of how ill-prepared he is to coach this team any longer.

Sure there were signs all over the place that his defense didn't work without Ron Rivera, who Smith apparently couldn't see eye-to-eye with (possibly because he made the defense work), and the Bears plummeted from the ranks of the elite, but it couldn't possibly be the fault of Lovie's scheme. It was that idiot Bob Babich. With Lovie calling plays, all the unit's problems of the past two years would be a thing of the past.

Last year there was also a major issue with getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. No problem. Lovie's good friend Rod Marineli, fresh off a head coaching stint of the worst team in NFL history, would surely come right in and fix this problem. And it's hard to argue with the results (two sacks in four games since the bye, not to mention giving up a season high rushing total to the leagues worst rushing attack in the first half!)

It's not just current problems, it's his refusal to learn from past mistakes. Great move having Charles Tillman go one-on-one with Larry Fitzgerald on Sunday. All Bears fans were eager to have our memories refreshed from the debacle that came from implementing a similar strategy against Steve Smith in the '05 divisional playoff game, and Sunday, we were lucky enough to relive such a banner occurrence in Lovie's coaching history.

There are problems up-and-down this current Bears roster and anyone thinking the playoffs are a realistic possibility within the next five years are being too optimistic. Not only is the current roster not good enough, there aren't enough draft picks in the near future (we sure are seeing the second-round pick value we gave up for Gaines Adams, aren't we?). The Bears need to rebuild, and a head coaching change needs to be objective No. 1.

Like I said, there's a lot of blame to be spread around from management to players (Tommie Harris should have been released before he even got to the locker room today), but I see nothing that fills me with anything even remotely resembling confidence that Lovie has what it takes to get this team where it needs to be.

Lovie got in at a good time with a team on the brink of good things and, as a result, was hailed as a near Ditka-esque figure for essentially doing an average-at-best job of coaching on a good team. Anyone who would dare make a Ditka comparison now likely wouldn't get the full sentence out of his mouth before being slugged in the mouth.

Mediocrity isn't supposed to be accepted in any organization, and this is particularly true with one as proud and with as rabid a fan base as the Bears. Whatever case could be made for Smith as a good—let alone great—coach is officially worthless. Not only is the defense, his pride and joy, arguably the second-worst unit of any kind in the NFL (behind only Cleveland's offense), but he simply cannot get his team ready to play at a consistent level (see the endless barrage of dumb mistakes at Atlanta).

Smith is stubborn and in complete denial his ways are effective enough to lead the Bears to the playoffs and beyond. Well, I'm not in denial and I don't think anyone whose been subjected to the Bears' stunningly awful play in recent weeks is either.

Each year Lovie Smith is on the Bears sideline will create another string of awful, ill-prepared teams resulting in our fans again having to spend the playoffs rooting for teams we don't care about to beat teams we hate. If Bears management wants this trend to die as quickly as possible, Lovie Smith needs to be sent to the unemployment line as soon as '09 is over.

If not sooner.