The Lovie Bunch: Bears Hopes Are On Them Now

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The Lovie Bunch: Bears Hopes Are On Them Now
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith enters the 2009 season with a 45-35 career record, which ranks behind only legends George Halas and Mike Ditka in team history. Still, six years after he arrived with no previous head coach experience, the jury is out what to make of him.
Is Smith a quietly effective leader? Or has he made a career off the 2006 season, which saw the Bears turn in a 13-3 record en route to their first Super Bowl appearance since the Ditka days? Throw out one magical season, and Smith has a 32-32 mark, which reflects the treadmill existence that his team has had the last two seasons.
Because the franchise had a need at the quarterback position for what
seemed like forever, the coaches had an easy out in the blame game. The arrival of boy wonder Jay Cutler changes that now. For the first time in decades, the Bears have what they consider to be a championship-caliber talent at quarterback, not an excuse for failure.
Expectations are higher in Bears camp than at any time in recent
memory, and as much as Cutler and his teammates, the onus will be on Smith and his hand-picked staff to meet them. This could the season that we begin to find out whether the Lovie bunch is a cut above the rest or something less than that.

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