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Bears players still like Lovie Smith

With increased calls for current Bears coach Lovie Smith to become former Bears coach Lovie Smith, several current Bears players have spoken out in support of the man who has been in charge of the team for six seasons.

Here’s a sampling, from Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune (via Bob Glauber of Newsday).

“I was here when coach Smith wasn’t here,” defensive end Alex Brown said. “So, I remember how it was.  Not to say anything bad about coach [Dick] Jauron, but it’s a lot different now.”

(“Different than Dick Jauron” isn’t exactly an ideal endorsement.)

“Lovie, as a coach, is what this team needs,” tight end Desmond Clark said. “We need that
steadying force. . . .  To have that steadying voice with the same message
coming every week is good for this team. . . .  We’re not computers.  You don’t just punch in a bunch of
numbers and tell us to go out and do it.  We’re humans and we play a
game.

“We also have an opponent that we have to play against.  So when you put those game plans in . . . they don’t always work.”

(Again, hardly an ideal endorsement.)

“The thing about coach Smith is that I trust him,” cornerback Charles Tillman said.  “I
trust his decisions.  I have faith in him, I have confidence in him.”

But what the players think is only a small part of the equation.  Maybe the players are fine with being a hair above .500, and maybe the players prefer something that’s familiar and comfortable over the kind of accountability and unpredictability that gets men to perform beyond the ceilings they may have placed over themselves.

And so while player discontent often is a factor in making a change, the fact that a coach is liked shouldn’t matter much when the time comes to decide whether the coach needs to go.

Plenty of coaches are liked by their players.  And plenty of coaches who are liked by their players get fired.  The bigger question is whether the Bears will do enough in 2009 to fulfill the expectations created by the trade that sent two first-round picks and more to Denver for quarterback Jay Cutler.

So far, the expectations have not been fulfilled.  And by all appearances they won’t be, at least not this year.

Whether that’s enough to get Smith another season isn’t known.  But if he’s ultimately fighting for his job, he’ll need a thicker shield than “my players still like me.”

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26 Responses to “Bears players still like Lovie Smith”
  1. ninjapleazee says: Nov 4, 2009 1:03 PM

    Lovie needs to be a Defensive Coordinator, not a head coach.

  2. danlinker says: Nov 4, 2009 1:08 PM

    If the cards win sunday the bears fans will yell even louder for Lovie to be out. When the cards beat a good team, the team usually has some form of melt down that next week. Remember the Texans after they lost to the card? How about when the Giants did?
    I am NOT saying the cards will win this game. It’s going to be a dogfight I think. But if the cards win watch the fallout.

  3. Jumbo says: Nov 4, 2009 1:14 PM

    If you guys “like” him so much maybe you should start playing better for him. I’m sorry but this team is terrible top to bottom and cleaning house is the only solution. From the o-line, to the horrendous clock management, use of time outs, replay challenges, personnel, and overall decision making, they are terrible. How they won 4 games so far is beyond me. The fact they haven’t taken Pace out yet is insane. Maybe they will when Jay Cutler is lying unconscious on the field. Seriously, I hope Jared Allen misses the flight or is in prison when they play because, what he will do to this O-line will be absolutely criminal. Fire Lovie, Fire Angelo, sell the team and get the hell out.

  4. WorldChampionBears2009 says: Nov 4, 2009 1:15 PM

    It’s not Lovie’s fault that this offense is inept, he didn’t injure Brian Urlacher for the season or Pisa Tinoisamoa.
    What you need to do, is get rid of Ron Turner ASAP! That offense was deplorable against the BROWNS of all people!
    I also want a change in the front office or something because the Bears have been running the same offense since the Bears have been in the NFL. All other teams have changed except for the Bears. You get a ALL-Pro QB and run the same d* mn offense of course you’re not going to get anywhere.
    If Forte sucks don’t keep feeding him the ball behind a suspect O-line and keep putting Cutler in 2nd and 3rd and long situations with poor excuses for a WRs on the outside.
    Lovie can’t help when he isn’t getting WR help. He can’t help the fact that he now has a plethora or D-linemen and nobody to catch the football. He can’t help not having a pick on the first day of the NFL Draft.

  5. NYBearsFan says: Nov 4, 2009 1:15 PM

    It wouldn’t be the worst thing if Lovie was still around next year, but I wouldn’t shed a tear if he was let go. But, knowing the McCaskey’s I don’t see him leaving before his contract is up. I think he still has 2 years left, at around 9 mil?
    The problem I have is that the Tampa 2 just doesn’t work anymore, and that was never more evident than in the Cincy game. The “undersized, speedy” D-line that Lovie uses was getting manhandled all over the field, and the weak spots in the pass coverage were exploited like I haven’t seen in a while. The sideline above the corners and 10-15 yds downfield across the middle are just never covered. Nick Roach is a hell of an athlete, but he just can’t cover the middle of the field like Urlacher, and he doesn’t have that much longer in him either.
    It’s time to change the defensive scheme, and if that means dumping Lovie, I’m all for it.

  6. bearsrule says: Nov 4, 2009 1:24 PM

    Lots of Bear fans are clamoring for a coach with “fire and passion.” Lovie Smith is a distant and aloof person. All team moves are regarded as if they are international top secrets. Every so often it becomes time for a change and Lovie and his staff are perilously close to that time. The offensive and defensive lines are terrible. The receivers are not pro level and they don’t have an active middle linebacker (Urlacher is hurt) to make the Tampa Two defense good. Da Bears are 4-3, but they are not a good team. Smith is as responsible as anyone.

  7. Jumbo says: Nov 4, 2009 1:25 PM

    WCB2009,…I have to disagree with you, it is most certainly his fault. Everything on those sidelines and in the coaching realm is on him. Hence Ron Rivera being let go after the Super Bowl. He seems to have no problem with the offense because of some flashes here and there. I agree about Urlacher, but Tinoisamoa?? He was on the field for all of about 3 quarters this year, this isn’t just something that’s happening this year with the defense. A plethora of D-lineman…yes…that all stink. Good coaches adjust, especially on defense when that’s his “specialty”. He refuses to change his scheme or adapt to the strengths of the players he has. You say the receivers are bad…that’s been the best part of the offense this year. He and Jerry supposedly work together on personnel decisions, if they don’t have the guys that’s on the both of them, and I’ll help pay their tickets out of town. At least Angelo has the credit of bringing an All-Pro QB to town, outside of that, he carries no credibility with this fan whatsoever, and neither does this coaching staff.

  8. Sow Crates says: Nov 4, 2009 1:28 PM

    NYBearsFan is right, McKaskeys + remaining years on a contract = no change.
    Whoever said this team is terrible from top to bottom is mistaken.
    Tillman is still a good CB, even if he’s not an NFL elite. Bowman is rounding out to a decent player, although he wouldn’t start on most teams.
    D. Manning and Al Afalava haven’t allowed a deep pass behind them in a terrible way in a few weeks, the Bears aren’t giving up big plays in the passing game, and thats partly on the performance of these guys.
    Briggs is still Briggs, making plays in the backfield as usual.
    Hillenmeyer and Roach are by far not the worst backup LBs in the league, both have starting experience, you can do a lot worse when you lose guys like Urlacher and Pisa for the season.
    the WRs are doing better than Forte or the TE’s in the passing game, surprisingly. Knox (700) Bennett (700) and Hester (1000) are on pace for WR production Chicago hasn’t seen in at least a decade.
    Forte has all the tools of a good back, he just needs to be a little bit better at pass blocking and run crisper routes.

  9. Sow Crates says: Nov 4, 2009 1:36 PM

    I will not disagree when somebody tells me that the Bears need to clean house at O and D line. That is a bonafide fact.
    A tampa-2 defense is just a scheme; with the right (best) players, of course it works, and it produces turnovers like wildfire. The Bears have a very gimpy Warren Sapp and no Simeon Rice in sight however, so the scheme fails.
    T. Harris clearly can’t play up to his contract. Ogunleye has all of his sacks vs Barbre in week 1 vs green bay and Cherilus in Detroit. Other than that, he’s given no reason not to be released. Alex Brown is a tough player who works hard, but he’s just not a pass rushing phenom. He’s fine as a teams 2nd best DE who can also generate pass rush at DT, but that just isn’t the case here. Anthony Adams is not a playmaker, I’m sure he’d play fine next to a great, elusive DT like Harris used to be, but next year we need a DT who can hold his own as the ship goes under on Harris’ knees.
    At O-line, the Bears can’t possibly plan on having Pace at LT for next year, he won’t get the Bears where they need to go. They might strongly consider Chris Williams at LT and Schaffer at RT next year, or later this year if the Bears suffer 6 or more losses.
    Omiyale is a failed project on a 3rd consecutive team. I know the McCaskeys hate wasting money, but Lovie made the right move paying him money to be a reserve player at G/T by taking him out of the starting lineup. Kreutz and Garza are in decline each and every year. I’m fine with Beekman as a starter, but the prerequisite for that is improvement at 2 of the other 4 positions along the line.

  10. Plankshelmet says: Nov 4, 2009 1:49 PM

    The NFL is now all about offense and the ability to score points. We have Ron Turner calling plays from a 25 year old play book and Lovie using a defensive scheme that has been on the way out for the last 10 years. Cutler can be a stud with a QB friendly system. Hoping to see Lovie and Turner gone soon and they can take Angelo with them.

  11. Jumbo says: Nov 4, 2009 2:07 PM

    Omiyale was brought in as a RT, the Bears should implement that NOW. Beekman and Garza and G, Williams at LT and Omiyale at RT, Kreutz at C. Evaluate that line, as that’s the one you had planned until Pace was signed. Otherwise you’ll blow next year trying to figure out how to fix the O-line as well. Sow Crates, I agree with you on most of your points, except Bowman has had flashes but also has looked really bad in spots. Manning and Afalava are playing OK, but they don’t get beat deep because the underneath stuff is open ALL DAY LONG!! Why take the shot downfield if, the guaranteed stuff is open? Forte’s problems lie with the o-line and some with himself. Watch when he runs…looks like old school Rashaan Salaam. Puts his head down and runs to where the hole is supposed to be instead of using field vision. Usually resulting in him running into a wall of men.

  12. TheDPR says: Nov 4, 2009 2:12 PM

    I’m not a big fan of Lovie Smith or Ron Turner but this team was more than just a good QB away from being a contender. Adding Cutler has moved them from being below average to being slightly above mediocre, but until they get better on their offensive line and get better defensive play in their secondary they’re a one-and-done wildcard team, at best.

  13. shady says: Nov 4, 2009 2:15 PM

    #1) Called an unnecessary time out during the Championship Game in 2006 which put the game in jeopardy. Lovie’s ‘dumb-face’ makes 1st appearance.
    #2) Got rid of Ron Rivera and replaced him with Bob Babich while keeping Ron Turner around.
    #3) Got rid of Ricky Manning and let an inexperienced saftey take over nickel and the defensive backfield has been screwed ever since.
    #4) Can’t figure out where to put who where .
    (Hester should have played DB, thanks for wasting his youth)
    #5) When he talks, he lies.
    Hatred for Lovie Smith full throttle.

  14. shady says: Nov 4, 2009 2:20 PM

    Even Joe Montana would struggle with this offensive play calling;

  15. grannyvi says: Nov 4, 2009 2:21 PM

    The Vikings players all loved Mike Tice, too.

  16. BearNDesert says: Nov 4, 2009 2:44 PM

    I lost a lot of faith in Lovie after that debacle against Cincy, but I’m going to see how the rest of the season goes before I completely throw in the towel on him.
    Besides, be careful what you wish for. Lovie has his limitations, but do you really trust the McCaskeys to replace him with someone better (see: Jauron, Dick and Wannstedt, Dave)?
    B-N-D

  17. Ross'sSweetMinus says: Nov 4, 2009 2:48 PM

    The Bears suck! garbage organization.

  18. mbbrazi says: Nov 4, 2009 2:48 PM

    You gotta be kiddin me. I live, eat, sleep and die “Vikings” and believe me I’m old enough to have been around from the opening kickoff so the there’s been more death over here than a little bit………………….but man you gotta be kiddin, a couple years or so from the Super Bowl and you people in Chicago want to get rid of him. Lovie is a great coach and a cool guy-where do you think you’ll go for another top notch coach like him. Leave Lovie alone and support him for another two or three years then we’ll see. But for now get off his back…….

  19. ModHairKen says: Nov 4, 2009 2:58 PM

    We’ll gladly trade you Raheem Morris for Lovie Smith. Heck, we’ll even throw in Jim Bates, Ronde Barber, a couple of downtown Tampa condominiums, Dan Sileo, a season pass to Busch Gardens, a Cuban sandwich, some handrolled Ybor city cigars, and a party for ten on the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium.

  20. Scoop says: Nov 4, 2009 4:07 PM

    Lovie ain’t at fault. Cutler ain’t at fault. Its all about Angelo.
    He mortgaged the future for a ‘franchise QB’ who isn’t one. Cutler doesn’t transcend the limitations of a team– which is how I would define a ‘franchise’ player. That D has been in decline for a couple years now. Like most aging, declining defenses, it is particularly vunerable to turnovers and morale shifts– which are both magnified by risk taking QB’s and schemes. Cutler’s gunslinger approach took away Forte’s true strength, which is as a receiver. I mean, the dude average 3.9 yards a carry last year. Anywhere but Chicago, that’s usually a concern. Cutler is good at throwing darts at big possession types, and outs to guys with good hands, not smurfs that need to catch the ball in space…and on the move. This was all evident in Denver…and I’m sure plenty of film was available.
    Basically, the Bears running game and defense were myths conjured up by an NFL media too lazy to depart from a storied franchise image. The fans, of course, want to believe any good thing they read. I do it all the time. Its the GM’s job to sort through this, but Angelo apparently spent more time reading press clippings than honestly gauging the state of his defense, and he failed to recognize that his offense lacked the tools to take advantage of Cutler’s strengths. Cutler ultimately was an ‘all in’ desperation move that helped with a short term PR problem. It bought him some time to hide a team in decline from the masses.
    Then he trades away the rest of his draft for another ‘pass rusher’ who can’t hold up against the run….
    I’d be pissed…but I wouldn’t be pointing the finger at either Smith or Cutler on this one.

  21. StavieSteelo says: Nov 4, 2009 5:10 PM

    It’s not Lovie, it is Ron Turner. He needs to be gone and get a new OC. The only way I am willing to part with Lovie is if we can Mike Shannahan he knows how to use Cutler and run a good Offense.

  22. purpleguy says: Nov 4, 2009 5:32 PM

    I don’t know who’s responsible for the personnel decisions, but I bet Lovie doesn’t have control over that aspect of the team. Did he put together that ousy O-line, the inexperienced receivers and the thin group of safeties? Is it his fault 2/3rds of the starting LBs got hurt?
    Then again, he did run off Rivera and hire Turner.

  23. Philtration says: Nov 4, 2009 8:23 PM

    Lovie is a terrible judge of talent and he plays people based on their draft position and how much money they make… not on who is the best player.
    That is how we ended up with that “Rex is our Quarterback” crap.
    That is why Thomas Jones was sent packing so Cedric Benson could feel good about himself.
    That is why he had Adam Archuleta on the field while Chris Harris was let go.
    He is stubborn, arrogant and highly overrated as a defensive coach and he would rather drive off a bridge just as long as he did not have to change course.
    He surrounds himself with his fishing buddies like Marinelli and Babich while getting rid of his possible replacement in Ron Rivera.
    Since Rivera was dumped they have fallen from a top 5 defense to a bottom 3rd of the league defense..
    This is Lovie’s defense and he has his hand picked sheep to run it and they have failed.
    He does not feel threatened by Ron Turner so that is his man on offense.
    He and Jerry Angelo are both alike.
    Bring in your old pals from Tampa and you know that they will be grateful for the nice pay no matter how bad they are.
    It has become a little club of former Tampa Bay coaches who never won anything there and have not won anything since and they are stealing the money they get.
    I wanted him gone three years ago.
    Please sell the Bears and bring in some real football people to run things.

  24. SmackMyVickUp says: Nov 4, 2009 8:32 PM

    Ron Turner needs to go first. Still have some faith in Lovie but he is not being aggressive enough.

  25. FumbleNuts says: Nov 4, 2009 9:24 PM

    Look for Shanahan and Jay Cutler to reunite in 2010.

  26. Satanic Hell Creature says: Nov 5, 2009 2:06 AM

    Why wouldn’t they like Lovie? He doesn’t work them overly hard, he doesn’t yell at them, he’ll never punish any of them for anything they do, he doesn’t care if they really suck. They can lose, lose bad and still make $millions$. More than several guys, under Lovies watch, were getting paid top dollar when they were less than starter level players. I’d love that too, if I couldn’t perform my job at a top level, but got paid top level money…sign me up, greatest boss ever.

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