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Lovie Smith realizes too late you need a quarterback

Lovie Smith AP

Well, if anyone would know, it would be Lovie Smith.

The former Bears coach underlined the importance of having a good quarterback, saying during an appearance on ESPN you can’t win a Super Bowl without one.

Smith has been undone by backup quarterbacks such as Caleb Hanie and Jason Campbell playing poorly when called upon, as well as some suspect starters. He lost his only appearance in the Super Bowl when Rex Grossman threw two picks in a loss to Peyton Manning and the Colts.

That’s why he said it’s hard to overdraft at the position, though many think this year’s class of quarterbacks is a mess.

“As far as overdrafting, it’s just such an important position,” Smith said, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. “You can look at the salaries we are paying quarterbacks nowadays, everything starts with them. There is such a big drop off when you lose that starting quarterback. If you don’t have one, and you have an opportunity to get one, sometimes you have to move up a little bit more. Quarterbacks, traditionally, are going to go a little bit higher. That’s just a part of it.

“In the end, you can’t win Super Bowls without having great quarterback play.”

Or keep a job, if you happen to be Lovie Smith.

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60 Responses to “Lovie Smith realizes too late you need a quarterback”
  1. asublimeday says: Apr 18, 2013 5:21 PM

    Ah, now he speaks candidly.

    I can’t believe there are bears fans that miss this clown. Good riddance.

    Enjoy him next year, Cowboys.

  2. si1m says: Apr 18, 2013 5:22 PM

    Or in Chicago’s case; without a QB being upright and intact instead of sacked 7 times a game.

  3. bombacim says: Apr 18, 2013 5:24 PM

    After reflection from his firing, this guy still doesn’t get it. You have to have an offense that actually scores points to win. You have to have an offensive line, and not “feel good” with the “group” or piles of crap you have got to keep that QB from not getting the crap beat out of him. You have to have an offense coached by someone other than a meathead that has never called a game before.

    To you I say, good ridens sir.
    -Chicago Fans.

  4. ditkabutkus says: Apr 18, 2013 5:25 PM

    Lovie was a decent coach, but his failure to adapt and adjust did him in. A couple lines to remember him by:
    “Rex is our quarterback”
    “Devin is a # 1 receiver”
    “We like our O-line”
    “Rex is our quarterback”
    Enough said

  5. jimbo75025 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:29 PM

    In spite of all the Cutler bashing, I still think he is a slightly above average QB. The Bears problems the last few years were mainly changing offensive philosophies with the regularity of smoke detector batteries and/or trying to shoehorn in a system which they did not have the personnel for.

  6. dennisatunity says: Apr 18, 2013 5:30 PM

    The challenge is that quarterbacks are not “…going to go a little bit higher.” They are going for $80, 90, 100, 120 million dollar contracts. We are letting one position take up 10-15% of our salary cap numbers. And when we do that, then we have to let other high-level players go. Often we are keeping the QB and then hurting our defense or other skill positions on offense. Yes, you do need an excellent QB. No, you do not have to destroy the rest of your team in getting one. (Just see Kaepernick or Wilson.)

  7. peanutele24 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:34 PM

    Hey lovie don’t forget bout An O line homey. Sign jay cutler.

  8. blacknole08 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:34 PM

    I dunno. Hanie showed some promise in the 2011 NFC title game when Cutler got “hurt.” Given what he saw Smith had enough faith to make him the back-up in 2011. But it is what it is.

    You also gotta question the conservative play-calling during Lovie’s tenure with the Bears.

  9. vader7176 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:35 PM

    Took him long enough. Took the MacCaskeys long enough too……
    ……maybe.

  10. raiderlyfe510 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:37 PM

    “Realizes too late”

    Nah..you need a exceptional QB is you’re a bad coach. Exceptional QB play compensates for bad coaching and roster deficiencies.

    Lovie Smith is a good coach he went to the Superbowl with Rex Grossman at QB, and was what 10-6 last year?

    Lovie Smith can win without a great QB.

    Also Joe Gibbs won 3 Superbowls without hall of fame QBs…

    Anybody can win with Hall of Fame QBs..it takes good Coaches to develop Hall of Fame QBs and win championships.

  11. jrock3x8 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:38 PM

    Cutler is a great QB – I hope he proves it in Chicago.

  12. vader3234 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:42 PM

    I offer, Trent Dilfer. Dilfer a great QB? Not!

  13. eatitfanboy says: Apr 18, 2013 5:42 PM

    Have I entered the twilight zone?

    First, A GM whose team blatantly sat starters at the end of the regular season to rest them for the playoffs states that a team should never give less than 100% effort to win.

    Now a coach whose team seemed to insist on trying to win with mediocre QBs and terrible backup QBs throughout almost his entire tenure says he knows you can’t win without a great starting QB?

    Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!

  14. snowpea84 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:42 PM

    I think what you meant to write was the he realized too late you can’t win without an 0-line. Don’t be an idiot who gives lip service to the “most unheralded position” thing and then can’t piece it together at any other time. Go back and look at how much the Bears have ignored that position over the last decade in comparison to teams that have done better.

  15. ninjapleazee says: Apr 18, 2013 5:44 PM

    Lets stick with J’Marcus Webb our 7th rounder… You know cuz he’s big.

  16. watchdawg1103 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:47 PM

    Lovie is a good coach and when Garrett gets fired after the season I would welcome him in Dallas, especially if he helps our defense in the process. Chicago was hurt by injuries and no depth. Especially on the OL and when Cutler was hurt. He got to the superbowl with Rex Grossman. That has to account for something.

  17. randygnyc says: Apr 18, 2013 5:51 PM

    The question remains unanswered, does Lovie really believe the bears can win with Cutler?

  18. bobzilla1001 says: Apr 18, 2013 6:24 PM

    Lovie was auditioning for a job; therefore he was merely echoing ESPN’s mantra: It’s All About The Quarterback.
    The Steelers of recent history won two Super Bowls without having the best quarterback the day those games were played.
    The Giants of recent history won two Super Bowls with Eli Manning, while the other team had Tom Brady.
    Tampa Bay won a Bowl with Brad Johnson, the Giants won a Bowl with Jeff Hostetler, even the Jets won a Super Bowl with Joe Namath, who didn’t play particularly well in that game.
    Quarterbacks are NEVER elite until they “win” a Super Bowl.
    ESPN has The Ultimate Team Sport all figured out…

  19. realfootballfan says: Apr 18, 2013 6:24 PM

    I love the people criticizing Smith for standing by and working with the players that his GM put on the roster, which unless I missed something was how the power structure was strictly split up during his time in Chicago.

    The best is yet to come for Smith because he’s a very good coach.

    Anybody who can take a team helmed by Rex Grossman and the garbage they had at receiver most of his tenure to not only multiple playoff appearances, but also a Super Bowl appearance is pretty good.

  20. asublimeday says: Apr 18, 2013 6:26 PM

    The question remains unanswered, does Lovie really believe the bears can win with Cutler?
    ——

    The Bears have won plenty with cutler

  21. realfootballfan says: Apr 18, 2013 6:30 PM

    Also, the fact that many still think Jay Cutler was some huge upgrade over Grossman underlines not only how delusional Bear fans are but also how under-appreciated Smith was for squeezing as much as he did out of that team most years.

    One thing I’m sure of is that Mark Trestman who knows QB play even if he doesn’t know anything else won’t have him on his team a year from now.

  22. BringBackTheFlex says: Apr 18, 2013 6:31 PM

    It’s too bad he has no idea what has happened in the NFL.

  23. axltcu says: Apr 18, 2013 6:31 PM

    Trent Dilfer disagrees.

  24. metalhead65 says: Apr 18, 2013 6:33 PM

    sure having lousy backups hurt you,but what was worse was your aversion to offense in general. get a field to take the lead in 1st. qtr? run the ball the rest of the game. having a lousy offense and no line to protect Cutler is what got you fired. Tom Brady could not have done more that what Cutler did for you in the offense your teams ran. he should have been mvp for what he did behind that line and in the pathetic excuse for offense tice ran last year. when you can’t get the lousy plays in on time you know you have more than the qb to blame.

  25. kevingreene160sacknoHOFclub says: Apr 18, 2013 6:38 PM

    Grade A certified miracle that Chicago made it to Superbowl XLI on Rex Grossman’s arm. All Manning had to do was get of bed that day.

  26. thirdistheworrd says: Apr 18, 2013 6:38 PM

    raiderlyfe510 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:37 PM

    “Realizes too late”

    Nah..you need a exceptional QB is you’re a bad coach. Exceptional QB play compensates for bad coaching and roster deficiencies.

    Lovie Smith is a good coach he went to the Superbowl with Rex Grossman at QB, and was what 10-6 last year?

    Lovie Smith can win without a great QB.

    Also Joe Gibbs won 3 Superbowls without hall of fame QBs…

    Anybody can win with Hall of Fame QBs..it takes good Coaches to develop Hall of Fame QBs and win championships.
    _________
    So there are 46 “bad” Lombardi winning coaches? Including Lombardi himself? I have no love for the Cowboys or Steelers, but I was always under the impression that Landry and Noll were pretty darn good.

    (Excluding Brian Billick and the dream team 2000 Ravens) Gibbs is the only coach in NFL history who has won a Super Bowl without a “franchise” quarterback . And although he did it three times, that says a lot more about Gibbs than it does about winning without a franchise signal-caller.

    Additionally, one of the reasons for Gibbs success was his ability to put together unstoppable Offensive lines. Honestly, Jason Campbell or Rex Grossman probably might have won a 1980′s Super Bowls behind the Hogs.

    However, with players getting faster and faster, and the NFL becoming more of a passing league, it’s very questionable whether anybody will ever be able to replicate Gibbs success going forward.

    So essentially Lovie is right, you can’t win in today’s NFL without a franchise guy. And that’s no direspect to Lovie, he’s a very good coach– it just means he isn’t Joe Gibbs, no one is, and in all likelihood no one ever will be.

  27. zo121179 says: Apr 18, 2013 6:38 PM

    Lovie didn’t get to the super bowl with Rex Grossmann. I want you Dallas fans to know this. Rex Grossman did throw for 23 TD’s that year but he also threw 20 picks. Lovie made it to that game because of the defense and special teams.

    Rex had 8 games with a QBR of 90 or better, 3 games at 60-90 and 5 games from 59 to ZERO. Yes his last game he tallied a game of 0 QBR.

    The super bowl was lost because Indy had the ball for almost 40 of the 60 min game. Turnovers against one the leagues worst defences that year was unacceptable. No defense can spend 40 minutes on the field against Peyton Manning. The bears were just out classed that day in every aspect of the game. Starting with the coaching. With out Hester and Urlacher that day the game is a 3 score win for Indy at least.

  28. larryboodry says: Apr 18, 2013 6:42 PM

    @dennisatunity:

    Someday Kaepernick and Russell will want big $$$ too.

  29. ilovefoolsball says: Apr 18, 2013 6:43 PM

    The problem with Chicago is the Bears fans. Until they can get a less gross group of fans cheering and not booing, they will continue to suck.

    +Philly.

  30. larryboodry says: Apr 18, 2013 6:46 PM

    blacknole08 says: Apr 18, 2013 5:34 PM

    I dunno. Hanie showed some promise in the 2011 NFC title game when Cutler got “hurt.”
    —————————————-
    Quotation marks? Seriously? Despite the fact that the man really had a serious knee injury and still wanted to play?

    I can’t believe some folks are still spouting the same old BS almost three years later.

  31. larryboodry says: Apr 18, 2013 6:55 PM

    randygnyc says: Apr 18, 2013 5:51 PM

    “The question remains unanswered, does Lovie really believe the bears can win with Cutler?”

    Given how poorly Lovie evaluated talent (Kellen Davis, Hester as a WR, and the entire o-line), I sincerely hope he comes out and says they can’t.

  32. jprcox says: Apr 18, 2013 6:59 PM

    Most people will point to Dilfer, and yes, he was not a pure passer – but he did “manage” the offense well. Rex threw 2 picks in the SB loss, which would not have happened if Dilfer was playing.

    Dilfer didn’t excel, but he didn’t stink either. In the end that is better than a “bad” QB. He may not “drive” you to the superbowl, but he won’t upset the party either.

  33. olv65 says: Apr 18, 2013 7:00 PM

    Bears have drafted a QB in the first round four times in the last 60 years. Does any other team match this lack of commitment to the game’s most important position?

  34. wludford says: Apr 18, 2013 7:06 PM

    Not exactly an endorsement of Jay Cutler. And from someone who knows him as well as anybody.

  35. johanvil says: Apr 18, 2013 7:16 PM

    zo121179 says

    “The super bowl was lost because Indy had the ball for almost 40 of the 60 min game. Turnovers against one the leagues worst defences that year was unacceptable. No defense can spend 40 minutes on the field against Peyton Manning. The bears were just out classed that day in every aspect of the game. Starting with the coaching. With out Hester and Urlacher that day the game is a 3 score win for Indy at least.”

    Some good points there but allow me a small correction.

    Our (Colts) defense was one of the worst indeed but in the regular season.

    When the playoffs started in the 2006/2007 season, the defense really stepped up. Especially against the run.

  36. raiderlyfe510 says: Apr 18, 2013 7:20 PM

    thirdistheworrd says:

    So there are 46 “bad” Lombardi winning coaches? Including Lombardi himself? I have no love for the Cowboys or Steelers, but I was always under the impression that Landry and Noll were pretty darn good.
    —————————————————————–

    These are all coaches that DEVELOPED they’re QBs. Chuck Noll had complete teams…The QB play was a reflection of how well everybody played around the QB. Just like Bill Cowher’s Steelers’ teams.

    Saying You need a good QB to win is low hanging fruit. It’s lazy rationale. If a team has Good QB play I’m pretty sure everything around that QB is performing at a high level.

  37. dino2997 says: Apr 18, 2013 7:21 PM

    Lovie can talk about QB play but he also did a poor job assembling an offensive line and WR’s which meant when he did get an elite QB like Cutler he doomed him to fail.

  38. dino2997 says: Apr 18, 2013 7:22 PM

    wludford says:
    Apr 18, 2013 7:06 PM
    Not exactly an endorsement of Jay Cutler. And from someone who knows him as well as anybody.

    ————————————————-

    What article were you reading? Cutler wasn’t mentioned.

  39. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Apr 18, 2013 7:23 PM

    I think Cutler is a jerk but he has a great arm. The problem appeared to be their offensive line. IMO

  40. omegalh says: Apr 18, 2013 7:23 PM

    What!? The QB is important?

  41. catfanatic1979v1 says: Apr 18, 2013 7:35 PM

    You cant win without a good qb AND a good offensive line. Its a combo.

  42. blackandbluedivision says: Apr 18, 2013 7:48 PM

    randygnyc says:
    Apr 18, 2013 5:51 PM
    The question remains unanswered, does Lovie really believe the bears can win with Cutler?
    _________________________

    Bears are 32-21 with Cutler starting.

  43. blackandbluedivision says: Apr 18, 2013 7:49 PM

    Lovie Smith was the only HC in the league that had no respect for the QB position. It was painful watching Cutler drop back and pass.

  44. mackcarrington says: Apr 18, 2013 8:08 PM

    I think Lovie has always realized that you need a QB. He had no choice, but to work with what he was given. When he finally had a viable QB in Cutler, he had no one to block for him.

  45. cinvis says: Apr 18, 2013 8:18 PM

    catfanatic1979v1 says:
    Apr 18, 2013 7:35 PM
    You cant win without a good qb AND a good offensive line. Its a combo.

    Unless your QB is Aaron Rodgers… Green Bay has one of the worst o-lines in the league, but Rodgers is by far the best in the league. He’s Brady, but with athleticism.

  46. larryboodry says: Apr 18, 2013 8:24 PM

    wludford says:
    Apr 18, 2013 7:06 PM

    “Not exactly an endorsement of Jay Cutler. And from someone who knows him as well as anybody.”

    This was not a case of Lovie throwing Jay under the bus, as much a a hater like you wishes it was…But thanks for trying.

  47. ososrule says: Apr 18, 2013 8:33 PM

    ilovefoolsball says:
    Apr 18, 2013 6:43 PM
    The problem with Chicago is the Bears fans. Until they can get a less gross group of fans cheering and not booing, they will continue to suck.

    +Philly.

    This coming from a fan base that acts like they have a dream team because an overrated CB gets signed and after failing AGAIN with a criminal like Vick. Gotta love Philly, especially when their squad chokes year after year and still have yet to win the big one. Wake up Philly you jinx your team every year with your crazy rants about how awesome your team is, leave that to Patriots fans….at least they can back it up!

  48. gsomatt says: Apr 18, 2013 8:42 PM

    Lovely Smith was a defensive minded head coach that wouldn’t give up control of the offensive.

    Cutler isn’t elite, but he’s a lot better than the scheme Smith and Co. threw him into.

  49. chi01town says: Apr 18, 2013 8:44 PM

    go away Lovie.. just go away. that sounded like a poke at Cutler to me
    and Lovie cant falt Cutler because he has NO IDEA of what to do with a QB or a offense. Thank god for Emery because he will finally stop the bleeding from loosing to the cheese. It will be nice to win games because of the offense not inspite of it

  50. onbucky96 says: Apr 18, 2013 8:49 PM

    Lovie, this is an offense. Yes Lovie, they do exist in real life.

  51. philtration says: Apr 18, 2013 8:56 PM

    randygnyc says:
    Apr 18, 2013 5:51 PM
    The question remains unanswered, does Lovie really believe the bears can win with Cutler?
    ================================

    Because they win when Cutler is playing and they lose when he is not.
    He has won games in Chicago while playing behind a really bad O line with a poor group of receivers.
    On top of that they have has a revolving door at Offensive Coordinator.
    His 4th QTR passer ratings are better than Tom Brady’s.

    Jay Cutler has never been the problem here.

  52. crawdaddy1212 says: Apr 18, 2013 9:14 PM

    Really Lovie???

    You do realize that the most recent SB winning team. was quarterbacked by Joe Flacco.

    Career Passer rating of 86. Perhaps not a scrub, but certainly not a top 10 QB either.

  53. larryboodry says: Apr 18, 2013 9:21 PM

    “Bears are 32-21 with Cutler starting.”

    Actually 34-22, and 29-13 in their last 42.

  54. slickster35 says: Apr 18, 2013 9:31 PM

    olv65 says:
    Apr 18, 2013 7:00 PM
    Bears have drafted a QB in the first round four times in the last 60 years. Does any other team match this lack of commitment to the game’s most important position?

    —————————————–

    The Chiefs haven’t drafted a QB in the first round for 30 years. Yeah, that sucks.

  55. filthymcnasty1 says: Apr 18, 2013 11:47 PM

    Jay = Kyle = Rex.

    They’re all guys you can’t win a Superbowl with.

  56. CKL says: Apr 19, 2013 10:03 AM

    bobzilla1001 says:
    Apr 18, 2013 6:24 PM
    Lovie was auditioning for a job; therefore he was merely echoing ESPN’s mantra: It’s All About The Quarterback.
    The Steelers of recent history won two Super Bowls without having the best quarterback the day those games were played.
    The Giants of recent history won two Super Bowls with Eli Manning, while the other team had Tom Brady.
    Tampa Bay won a Bowl with Brad Johnson, the Giants won a Bowl with Jeff Hostetler, even the Jets won a Super Bowl with Joe Namath, who didn’t play particularly well in that game.
    Quarterbacks are NEVER elite until they “win” a Super Bowl.
    ESPN has The Ultimate Team Sport all figured out…
    _______________________________
    I’m with you, I get so sick of “QB NATION” and every QB who is on a SB winning team being the MVP even if he was average in the game and being called elite when his team wins a ring.

    As a Pats fan let me add that when TB was on his first SB winning team he was NOT elite. He was a smart, efficient QB who played the way his HC wanted, but his stats were pedestrian. Ever since the Pats have been more TB centric, they have not won SBs. Because you cannot build a SB winning team that is built around one player so heavily, regardless of how good that player is. It makes you too one dimensional and easier to stop.

    Yes you need A QB…certainly one better than Grossman, but he doesn’t have to be OMG ELITE to be capable of playing the way a guy needs to play to be on a SB winning team.

  57. comeonnowguys says: Apr 19, 2013 11:00 AM

    That’s all fine and good, Lovie, but what good is a QB when you start running dive plays nearly every down with five minutes left in the game?

  58. thirdistheworrd says: Apr 19, 2013 11:18 AM

    raiderlyfe510 says: Apr 18, 2013 7:20 PM
    thirdistheworrd says:

    So there are 46 “bad” Lombardi winning coaches? Including Lombardi himself? I have no love for the Cowboys or Steelers, but I was always under the impression that Landry and Noll were pretty darn good.
    —————————————————————–

    These are all coaches that DEVELOPED they’re QBs. Chuck Noll had complete teams…The QB play was a reflection of how well everybody played around the QB. Just like Bill Cowher’s Steelers’ teams.

    Saying You need a good QB to win is low hanging fruit. It’s lazy rationale. If a team has Good QB play I’m pretty sure everything around that QB is performing at a high level.
    __________
    Don’t disagree, I was just responding to the idea that every coach who has won with a franchise quarterback is a bad coach.

    The 70′s Steelers, and Cowboys were great teams, and Bradshaw and Staubach may have been “developed” by Noll and Landry, but they had innate Canton-level talent and were “franchise quarterbacks”. No matter how great a coach is, he can’t develop Brodie Croyle or Jordan Palmer into franchise QBs. My point was that only three* Super Bowls have been won without franchise quarterbacks: whether or not Noll and Landry would have won without Hall of Fame passers is a moot point there.

    Lastly, the central point of my argument is that with increasing player speed and the NFL becoming a “passing league”, it’s hard to imagine a team winning a Lombardi without a “franchise” QB in the future, no matter how great the team is.

    *(Ok 5: Dilfer in 2000, and HoFer Griese was injured for the 73 Dolphins, but that just complicates things)

  59. larryboodry says: Apr 19, 2013 2:02 PM

    The ’85 Bears won their only SB in 1985 with Jim McMahon, who, based on #s alone, was a very pedestrian QB…78.2 career quarterback rating, never threw more than 2392 yards or 15 TDs in a season (both in ’85), and his career YPG average was 151.2…What made him a franchise QB in Chicago was his ability to win – 46-15 (.754) overall, and a ridiculous 36-5 (.878) from ’84-’88.

    Was he ‘elite’ by today’s standards? No, and ultimately he was injured too much…In 7 years with the Bears he barely averaged 8 starts per season, with a high of 11 in the SB year.

    The Bears of the 80′s had McMahon and Payton, and the most dominant defense of all time (yeah, I’m biased), but only went to the SB once. Lot of blame to go around for that…Ditka’s ego, and Buddy Ryan’s ouster…The players let their ’85 success go to their heads…And sadly, McMahon’s inability to stay healthy.

    But for that one magical season, the Bears schooled everybody not from Miami, and IMHO Jimmy Mac was elite.

  60. iowahbr says: Apr 19, 2013 5:33 PM

    Next I guess we’re going to read that Lovie wants to get into teaching grade school math in Chicago. Says Lovie: “We’re going to get kids to master this 2 plus 2 equals 4 thing first.”

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