Seven coaching vacancies currently exist. (That number could soon be six.) The guy whose termination created one of them — former Bears coach Lovie Smith — reportedly has drawn interest for only two of them.
The demand should be higher.
Smith led the Bears for nine years, taking them to a Super Bowl and, in recent years, making the most he could out of substandard personnel — especially on the offensive line. Though every team must at some point in a season find a way to overcome injuries, the Bears had plenty in 2011 and 2012, wiping out strong starts. (The absence of a quality backup quarterback in 2011 didn’t help.)
And so, with all the focus on a coach whose Dream Team easily could have been 1-15 or 0-16 in 2012, Smith has been overlooked, for the most part. He’ll reportedly interview with the Bills, and the Chargers now also have interest.
For the former, Smith could pump up an underperforming 4-3 defense. The challenge would be finding the right person to run the offense — and the right quarterback to throw the passes. As to the latter, Smith would have to decide whether to continue with the 3-4 defense that the roster has been built to support, or to install his 4-3 approach.
Regardless, San Diego becomes intriguing because a stout defense to go with a franchise quarterback on offense could be the right formula for success.
That’s why Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who based on his history could indeed be looking discreetly for an upgrade at the coaching position, should be considering Smith. Given Jones’ new focus on “fundamentals,” Smith’s fundamentally sound defense coupled with an offensive coordinator who can get the most out of Tony Romo could be exactly what the Cowboys need.
It could be exactly what Smith, a Texas native, needs, too.