Nowhere to Run To, Lovie

Keith GrieveContributor ISeptember 25, 2008

I wonder if Martha And The Vandelas are really playing around Halas Hall these days?

The Chicago Bears are a mess and no one can blame the Super Bowl hangover anymore. The blame belongs squarely on the shoulders of Head Coach Lovie Smith.

After watching the Bears squander two fairly solid leads in the second halves against two pretty mediocre teams, one has to question the leadership. The defense was clearly winded and played a completely different brand of football in second halves of both games.

The last time I checked it was the coach's responsibilities to make sure his players are in shape. That's what the training camp is for.

The Bears are also apparently trying to lead the league in penalties, ranking 5th in offensive penalties and 7th in defensive penalties called.

Discipline is also the coach's responsibility. Not to mention that a Bears player has been flagged for a personal foul in each of the team's first three games.

Playcalling has also come into question lately, particularly towards the end of games. Ignoring rookie RB Matt Forte who for intents and purposes looks like he may be the real deal has blown up in their face.  In Week 2 at Carolina, the Bears were faced with a 4th and 1 at midfield and chose to give the ball to FB Jason McKie. That failed.

However instead of maybe learning, the Bears coaching staff (read: Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner) repeated the gaffe in Week 3's game against Tampa Bay.

Just before the two minute warning in the fourth quarter, the Bears were faced with a 3rd-and-2 with a 7-point lead. Forte had just gotten the last 8 yards, so instead of putting the ball in his hands they called a play-action pass that fooled no one and QB Kyle Orton was dropped short of the first down.

The captain goes down with the ship, and unfortunately for Smith, it looks like this is going to be the end of the road for the coach who two years ago had seemed to have returned the Bears to glory.

Sometimes in the face of success, coaches lose their way and that success skews reality. This has to be the only excuse for Smith thinking he could run former Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera out of town after the Super Bowl and not miss a beat.

In all honesty, I didn't think it would have all that much effect on the defense since it was Smith's defense he brought with him from Tampa Bay and St. Louis.

I wasn't wrong, I was mistaken. New Defensive Coordinator Bob Babich has taken a Super Bowl caliber defense and turned it on its head.

Lovie's responsible for letting him do it. Lovie's responsible for everything short of the poor drafting by GM Jerry Angelo. Wednesday's release of WR Mark Bradley makes Orton the only remaining player from the 2005 draft class.  That was just three years ago, wasn't it?

The list of failed high draft picks in this regime is frightening and it is impossible to ignore any longer.

2008 is not lost- yet. However the leadership has not shown it has what it takes to make the necessary adjustments to turn this season around.

Week 4 brings the Philadelphia Eagles to town. Eagles QB Donovan McNabb is banged up but will it really make a difference? The Bears porous pass defense is going to make the Bears throw and throw and throw to catch up.

Kyle Orton can't win that game. 1-3 is bad. 1-4 is even worse. Where will it end?

More importantly, when will it end?