Chicago Bears Should Name Lovie Smith the Next General Manager
For years, there have been problems in the front office in Chicago. Fans have been left to sort out where the problems stemmed.
Jerry Angelo was hamstrung when the Bears hired him in 2001 by the fact that the Bears organization already had its head coach. Angelo was immediately tied to a coach with personnel and staffing control that the new GM had no say in.
This led to problems in the front office and conspiracy theories revolving around players like Tony Parrish and Warrick Holdman that put Angelo on bad footing with the fans from the start.
This isn't to say that Angelo doesn't deserve his fate.
But it is an indication that the next GM will be brought in hamstrung in the same way—with a coach who has even more power already in place.
The Bears are going to have problems bringing in the best candidates when Ted Phillips has already made it clear that the new GM will be beholden to Smith's philosophy.
Will a big name player like Bill Polian put himself in a position to be subservient to a head coach who has already managed to deflect blame for mediocrity at the previous general manager?
Will it be lost on a man like John Dorsey that the Bears draft success saw an immediate decline after Smith was granted a measure of control in the process with his post-Super Bowl contract?
Should Lovie Smith be the Bears Next GM?
No, and the Bears have to recognize that they are propping a new general manager up to fail by tying him to a coach who is in a do-or-die situation. Additionally, bringing in a new general manager under these circumstances is placing Smith in a poor position as well and creates an adversarial environment for both to work under.
Handing the remaining duties of the general manager position—many of which already reside with Smith—will give Smith and the Bears the best chance for success.
Ted Phillips has already established that the philosophy of the incoming general manager must mirror that of Smith's. That effectively make the incoming GM little more than a figurehead.
If the Bears are truly insistent on the new GM's philosophy being a match with Smith's, then who better than Smith himself.
Hiring Lovie Smith as the Bears next GM is the best available option for a team that has already hitched the wagon of its fate to Smith's leadership. By not relieving Smith of his duties, the Bears have gone all-in on Smith and should complete the process by naming him GM.
If their confidence in him is that high, then give Smith the opportunity to prove that blame for the past mistakes was well placed, along with the confidence placed in Smith and his philosophy.
Handing him the GM responsibilities gives Smith the best chance to succeed and the Bears front office the best chance to recover quickly should Smith fail.
And ultimately, that might be the difference between one year and 11 years of mediocrity.
Given the chance, Smith could prove that the McCaskeys' and Ted Phillips' faith is well placed. The front office has faith in him for a reason. Smith could help this organization turn the championship corner. If the front office didn't believe that, they wouldn't tie down their next GM to Smith's outlook, would they?
I say that if the Bears are going to hitch their future to Smith's wagon, then they need to stop dragging their feet and slowing him down. Give the man the power to fail or succeed on his own terms instead of creating a power struggle the likes of the Dick Jauron/Jerry Angelo saga.
He'll need help. Bring in a solid Director of Scouting that fits Lovie's plan. Give him a Personnel Director that fits the same mold. But place the ultimate decision making power in Smith's hands.
The Bears already made this Lovie's team. Now give him the tools to get the job done: the proper staff and a "the buck stops here" sign for his desk. Make Smith the Bears next GM.
Anything else will likely be throwing the next decade away. If Halas Hall is giving Smith their support, then give him total support. Give him the best change to succeed. Make him the next Chicago Bears GM.
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