Lovie Smith: On the Hot Seat in Chicago?

Max KienzlerAnalyst IOctober 27, 2009

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 04: Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears watches as his team takes on the Detroit Lions on October 4, 2009 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 48-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Lovie Smith—the man who led the Chicago Bears back to the Super Bowl.

The man who made his priorities clear on his first day, No. 1 being to beat Green Bay, and I agreed with every one of them.

The man with the voice of calm and reason.

The man who has led the Bears to a regular season record of 48-38 since he took over.

...and I am calling for his job to be put on the line?

While those are the good points on his behalf—remember, this is the man whose defense has gotten progressively worse every year since the 2006 season, when Ron Rivera was the defensive coordinator. 

The man who sent Rivera packing at the end of the year because they did not see eye-to-eye.

The man who stood there and watched as his defense was torn apart for 45 points in this past week's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and former Bear "bust" Cedric Benson.

Listen, I understand that Lovie led the Bears to their first Super Bowl appearance in 20 years. He doesn't panic. But at the same time, he does not inspire the team. That effort on Sunday was one of the worst I have seen in my lifetime. There was no fire, no passion. They were getting stomped, and not one of them look liked they cared.

If Mike Brown, Brian Urlacher, or even Dusty Dvoracek were playing, they would have been screaming. But none of those three played, and no one on that bench looked like they cared.

I care. The rest of the fan base cares. Why don't the Bears players?

I was getting big into the Bears right during the Dave Wannstedt era, and those were some bad years. I didn't fully appreciate just how bad they were because I was still in grade school. Then I became a die-hard Bears fan during the Dick Jauron time. With the exception of one year, they were even worse and he showed less fire than Lovie does.

So yes, Lovie is better than those two previous coaches. But just because he was better than those two doesn't mean he should get a pass for missing the playoffs three straight years (which will looks like it will happen this season).

I mean, he is good comparatively to the previous choices, but overall? 

The Chicago Bears finally have a "franchise" quarterback with some potent offensive weapons, and, all of the sudden, the defense—the unit that has kept this team competitive for years—is not only a weak point but a complete gaping hole.

Let me be clear; I am not calling for Smith to be fired here and now. I think that if the Bears miss the playoffs again this year, we have to explore what other options are available.

Now with Smith under contract for two more years, it would have to take a complete epic meltdown for him to be fired by the season's end, even though it might be the right move. And it will be even harder considering how much money would be owed to him.

But the coaching options out there this offseason will be aplenty, including some very interesting Super Bowl winners—Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, and John Gruden. Or maybe even a couple former Bears if Jeff Fisher gets the boot in Tennessee or Leslie Frazier, who is a coordinator for the rival Vikings, becomes available.

It is just food for thought, but right here and right now, Lovie needs to realize that he can't sit back and take his time working out the problems.

He needs to make adjustments now.

He needs to man up and makes sure that last Sunday's performance does not happen again.

He needs to Bear Down...not lay down.


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