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Don't expect Lovie Smith to be out of work for long.
1) Detroit Lions Keeping HC Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew
I think Schwartz and Mayhew deserve the opportunity they’re getting to return in 2013, but just barely. 2012 was nothing short of a wretched season in Motown, as the Lions lacked discipline both on and off the field.
I wouldn’t have had a major problem if either guy was let go, as the Lions simply must do a better job with organizational accountability. To Schwartz’s credit, he’s already promised a “different dynamic" this offseason, according to Anwar S. Richardson of MLive.com.
It’ll be up to Schwartz and Mayhew to see it through, or else there’ll be new men running the show in Detroit come 2014.
2) Chicago Bears Fire HC Lovie Smith
This is another close call, but I’m leaning on the side of Bears GM Phil Emery here: I think this (Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com) was the right move.
Lovie Smith is a very good head coach who, on the whole, did a nice job in Chicago, the highlight being the team’s appearance in Super Bowl XLI. I expect Smith to be a head coach again in the NFL sooner rather than later.
But Lovie's time in Chicago had run out. Emery inherited Smith, and a new GM will almost always want to pick his own head coach, so when the Bears missed the playoffs, even with a 10-6 record, the writing was on the wall for Smith.
Bottom line: The Bears went to the playoffs only one time in the past six seasons. That’s not good enough.
It was time for Smith to go. I do expect him to draw significant interest on the coaching market. Look for Buffalo to make a run at Smith.
3) Mike Mularkey and Ron Rivera Being Left In Limbo
I think both Mike Mularkey (Jacksonville) and Ron Rivera (Carolina) deserve the opportunity to return in 2013.
I believe both teams made the right call in firing their respective GMs. The Jaguars let Gene Smith go on Monday, according to ESPN, while the Panthers fired Marty Hurney in October.
With new general managers to be hired, I fear for Mularkey and Rivera. Even though Jacksonville went 2-14, the Jaguars played hard for Mularkey, and he had very little talent to work with. Despite a rough start in Carolina, the Panthers finished strong, winning five of their final six games.
I hope both men return in 2013, but I don’t feel good about their chances.
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