CHICAGO BEARS PATRONAGE WOES: BEARS COULD LEARN FROM THE DALEY'S
The Chicago Democratic Party has been built on patronage, and this is common knowledge. Both Daley mayors built political armies from their own backyards that have dominated Chicago politics for decades. However, being hired by a Daley comes with a price, and that price is that whoever is hired, must deliver, must go the extra mile for the Party, or team, if you will. And when that hired hand fails to perform, or gets dirty, for whatever reason, the Daleys' were/have always been quick to take action, whether by seperating themselves from the culprit or dumping them outright.
The Chicago Bears front office and coaching staff also practices it's own version of patronage, in that Jerry Angelo, Lovie Smith, Ron Turner, and Bob Babich, are all joined at the hip. Now it stands to reason that if you're hired as a boss somewhere, anywhere, and you bring in your pals to fill key managerial positions, they should be held to the same scrutiny as anyone else. If they're not, then you're placing your own head under the chopping block. Also, you should be held under scrutiny for your hiring, and any unwillingness to correct wrongs within the organization. But that doesn't seem to be the case with the Chicago Bears; not yet anyways. Why is that?
When the Bears hired Lovie Smith he was heralded in the local media as some kind of up-and-coming football genius, a label since shown to be undeserved. First of all, he was not the architect of the Tampa 2, but most of Chicago seems to think that he was. Also, he was given praise for being the first Black Head Coach of the Chicago Bears. That's all fine and dandy, but there comes a time when you have to be judged on your own merits, regardless of any extrinsic factors.
So how has Lovie Smith's performance stacked up under close scrutiny? Smith is given credit for coaching his defensive players during the Super Bowl run of a few years back when they lost to the Colts, when it was actually Ron Rivera who had the Bears defense playing at an elite level. Smith's player evaluations and assessments are also sorely lacking. Remember that it was Smith who sounded the trumpet for Tommie Harris, who has become a non-factor in the interior for the Bears. The Bears D-Line now has to slant on a regular basis to help out the interior, which puts a hamper on the pass rush and also leaves the line vulnerable to runs bounced to the outside. It also has a cumulative effect on the linebacking corps, when they have to assist the ends, who are assisting the interior. With the safeties playing 20 yards back in the Cover 2, quality teams easily dink and dunk the Bears up and down the field on a regular basis.
Smith gets rid of Ron Rivera, a highly talented defensive mind, presumably over philosophical differences. So why did Lovie Smith get rid of him? Did Rivera realize that the Cover 2 has been solved, and furthermore, that the Bears player personnel isn't best suited for the Cover 2? Or perhaps Rivera saw that Smith's judgment is flawed in other areas as well?
It was Smith also who got rid of the oft-injured Safety Mike Brown, who by the way is still playing better than any safety on the present Bears roster. At least Brown has above-average NFL awareness and also plays with a chip on his shoulder, even if he's lost a step or two over the years.
Concerning Babich, one of the evil cabal from Smith's Rams days. After two plus years of underachievement as Defensive Coordinator, Smith finally demotes him and takes over the defensive play calling for the Bears. What has been the result: overall the Bears defense is still underachieving and has wasted the prime years of Bears defensive studs. The aforementioned Harris is now a non-factor, Urlacher doesn't play at the same level anymore, Mike Brown is gone, and poor Lance Briggs looks like the last man standing at times. If Babich can't coach, then why is he still here?
It should also stand to reason that Smith should be questioning the play calling ability of Ron Turner. Everyone in the football world has been calling for his head for a while now, but still, Smith is mums the word. Turner has screwed up so many players, he should be adjudicated as a career football criminal, a threat to young offensive talent. Grossman, Benson, Berrian, Moose Muhammud, and Orton, to name just a few, are players who begged to get out of Chicago because of Turner. Now Cutler and Forte are beginning to get away from proper technique and mechanics, and it's the coaches responsibility to correct that, but Turner doesn't seem to have a handle on it. His recent statement that the Bears need to "dumb down" their offense is ridiculous. Their offense is much too predictable already. Whether a scheme is flawed, the players are either washed up or otherwise ineffective, or aren't playing hard enough; somethings wrong. It needs to get fixed immediately or this will be just another wasted year for the Bears.
Turner also recently gave insight into his state of mind and coaching ability when asked about the O/L just before the Browns game. His response that there's nothing wrong with the O/L, their some good players, and that he doesn't understand why everyone is talking about the O/L, should be held as a direct indictment of his coaching competency. But it hasn't...why? Can it be that Lovie Smith has no offensive knowledge to contribute to the Bears scheme, or lack thereof? Or perhaps he's just so stubborn or smug with himself that he thinks that when the axe finally falls, it will miss him? In any event, the Bears should be better than what they've shown thusfar. If Smith has nothing significant to contribute to the offensive scheme of the team that he is Head Coaching for, then how does he qualify as Head Coach? Supporters of the Angelo, Smith, Babich and Turner, cabal state that ultimately it comes down to the players execution on the field more than the coaching. But if that were the case, then every team in the NFL would have just one play, and the team that executed best would win.
When former Chicago Democratic Party and Daley political hack Al Sanchez got put in the hotseat, Daley evaluated the situation, saw the end was near, and cut his losses. That's how it goes in politics, and business. There's always a bottom line. If Angelo, Smith, Babich, and Turner continue to ride this dead horse (Off/Def playbook) together, and when confronted with the obvious, reply with double-speak, and sarcasm, then it stands to reason that they should all be ridden out of town together, with their dead horse.
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