Chicago Bears: Could Lovie Smith Lose His Job Because of Jay Cutler's Injury?

Matt CoanCorrespondent IIDecember 7, 2011

Chicago Bears: Could Lovie Smith Lose His Job Because of Jay Cutler's Injury?

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    The Chicago Bears are in a tailspin, headed straight for a January of sitting on the couch at home, watching the playoffs on television.

    Since winning five straight games and coming off a November of dominant football, the Bears have lost two in a row and don't look very good.

    Injuries into star quarterback Jay Cutler and star running back Matt Forte are the main reasons behind the team's struggles, but there are a few other factors.

    While this isn't a call for Lovie Smith's head, it is a look into whether or not the head coach could lose his job because of the injuries and how it might not be the worst thing in the world to part ways with him.

End-of-Season Collapse

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    After having an NFC playoff spot all but locked up after their five-game winning streak, the Chicago Bears have collapsed.

    Or are at least collapsing.

    It wouldn't be a major collapse, though. Let's say the Bears drop three of their next four games and finish with a final record of 8-8—no one would be totally surprised.

    The team lost its two best offensive players, probably their two most valuable players, to major injuries.

    The team's backup players haven't exactly been great—especially at quarterback—but injuries are a part of the game and teams need to know how to deal with them.

    Lovie Smith and the team's coaching staff are in charge of evaluating talent and keeping the best possible players on the roster so that the team can excel.

    If Smith decided Caleb Hanie was good enough to back up Jay Cutler and fill in for him in case of injury—he wasn't—that's on the head coach and the general manager.

    Hanie is still young and has only two NFL starts, but if he isn't the right choice at quarterback and the Bears do end up collapsing, a lot of the blame would fall on Lovie Smith.

Mike Martz

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    Speculation that Mike Martz will elect not to return to the Chicago Bears at the end of this season has come out recently, and it has to have the team worried.

    Chicago's offense has clearly gotten better under the leadership of Martz and the use of his complex playbook. 

    Martz leaving would mean that the team would need to find a new offensive coordinator and most likely change the style of offense they play.

    This would be the fourth time Jay Cutler has had to learn a new offense in his career, and it would once again slow down his development as a quarterback.

    The Bears could choose to fill in a stop-gap coordinator, but that would run the risk of him not working out and needing to find another two years from now. That, or clean house entirely and start over.

    Parting ways with Lovie Smith and hiring a coach who would bring in a new offense and be around for a long time would allow Jay Cutler to master an offense he can stick with for the rest of his career.

    Next season will be Smith's ninth in Chicago, and most coaches don't last far past that. If history tells us Smith won't be around very long, why not look into making a move now at an opportune time?

Could Lovie Be on the Way out Anyway?

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    However great a head coach one is in the NFL, their message will eventually get stale.

    Whoever it is, wherever it is, whenever it is—they will someday lose their players and no longer be the right choice to lead their respective football teams.

    It's an accomplishment in itself to last eight years coaching one NFL team, and knowing how much success coach Lovie Smith has had with the Bears makes it even more impressive.

    The one problem is that the right situation can derail any head coach, and Smith and the Chicago Bears might be in that place.

    History says Smith won't last much longer in Chicago anyway. The Bears could be coming off a collapse and be heading into next season with a need for another new offensive coordinator.

    Things seem to be stacking up against Smith, but nothing is even close to happening yet.

Final Verdict

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    The Chicago Bears won't fire Lovie Smith at the end of this season, even if the team does miss the playoffs.

    No head coach is going to win without his two most valuable and best offensive players, and a string of horrible luck isn't a good enough reason to fire a coach—especially with Chicago's history of patience at the position.

    The Bears will be able to hire a new coordinator to run the offense and hopefully add some youth to the defense and playmakers to the offense.

    Jay Cutler and Matt Forte will get healthy and the Chicago Bears, led by head coach Lovie Smith, will be contending for the NFC North again next season.