Chicago Bears 2008 Season in Review - Coaching

I’ve been putting this entry off because I was hoping that Jerry Angelo would have wised up and fired the entire coaching staff after this disappointed season, but at this point I guess that’s not gonna happen. 


Bob Babich led the 21stranked Bears defense that has been in decline ever since he took it over after the 2006 Super Bowl season.  What bothers me most about the Bears’ D is that we make the same mistakes over and over again.  How many times can Danieal Manning not know the coverage?  I could forgive the Reggie Wayne touchdown in the Super Bowl.  Manning was a rookie back then.  As a third-year player, how could he pull the same boneheaded maneuver against the Texans best receiver in a must-win, season-on-the-line, win or go home game?  Let’s not forget the record-tying 99 yard bomb to Bernard Berrian.  Another blown coverage.  I blame the coaching staff for not correcting these errors.  Babich needs to be held accountable.

Babich might have the keys, but make no mistake about it, this is Lovie’s car.  I don’t think the personnel on the roster today can successfully run this scheme.  The defensive line cannot generate pressure without blitzing, the middle linebacker cannot cover the same ground he once did and the safeties are constantly lost and I’m not sure which is worse, their coverage or their tackling.  But the coaching staff is a combination of stubborn and arrogant that will lead to total destruction. 

The defense was successful at stopping the run.  Great; build on that.  But in today’s NFL, you must stop a passing attack too.   Oh wait, the Packers just ran another slant for 12 yards.  Speaking of 12 yards, any time the Bears want to figure out how to stop someone on third and long, be my guest.  


Ron Turner’s unit exceeded expectations in 2008, but when expectations were to be the worst offense in the league, that’s not saying much.   It’s easy to pick on the coaching when the offense lacked weapons, like a legit wide receiver, so I will.

The Bears offense lacked the killer instinct to put away opponents.  The Bears were among the league leaders in first quarter scoring, but faded later in games.  That tells me that Turner’s original game plan was relatively effective.  In fading late in games, it shows that Turner could not make the necessary adjustments to counter the opponents’ defensive moves.  It also shows that the offense was way too conservative and failed to keep the pressure on opponents. 

There would be games where the any casual observer could predict the plays.  Pass on first down.  If incomplete, run on second down to gain a couple of yards.  Pass on third down.  Then send in Brad Maynard to boot it away.  Pass, run, pass, punt.  Pass, run, pass, punt.  On the bright side, at least under Turner they don’t use the offense to set up the punt.  Remember Dick Jauron? 

Special note to Ron Turner.  If you’ve ever seen the movie Dead Poets Society, you’ll probably recall the scene early in the movie when Robin Williams’ character takes over as the English teacher at the Welton Academy for Boys.  He has his students rip out the pages in the poetry textbook that run contrary to his “Carpe Diem” philosophy.  I urge Ron to do the same with that STUPID fullback dive play on short yardage!  It didn’t work on 4th and 1 in Carolina, it didn’t work against the Vikings, it won’t work ever!  Rip! Rip it out!  Be gone, fullback dive! 

Head Coach

I’ve already given Lovie a dose in the Defense, but let me take one more shot.  Time management was atrocious this season!  I give you the Atlanta game.  11 seconds left and cannot protect the lead.  No more questions.  No soup for you!  Come back, 1 year!

Lovie took the Bears to the Super Bowl, so he built up some capital with the fans.  All of that capital has been spent.  He chased Rivera out of town and brought in his buddy Babich.  Now he wants to bring Marinelli here.  Would it kill him to have a desenting opinion to the team?  Someone that might stand up in a meeting and say, “Hey, let’s try something else in this situation or try that coverage on third down?”  I’m no shrink, but it seems like there are some insecurity issues at play here. 

Where do we go from here? 
If Denver can fire 2-time Super Bowl Champion Head Coach for Life Mike Shanahan after Denver’s collapse and failing to make the playoffs this season or the Packers can make Defensive Coordinator Bob Sanders the scapegoat for a disappointing season, despite having a defense that finished ranked higher than the Bears, I thought there might be hope for change.   No such luck.  The McCaskey family is too cheap to pay off Lovie and then go out a hire an established coach. 

The Bears fire the Defensive Backs coach, let the D-Line coach walk, reportedly offering the position to Rod Marineli.  Yes, that Rod Marinelli, another FOL (Friend of Lovie) who guided the Detroit Lions to an historic 0-16 season.  Other teams actually try to win with their coaching staff.  The Bears coddle the head coach and allow him to surround himself with people that won’t disagree with him.   Ask Chico Rivera about that. 

Bears outcast Ron Rivera headed up the defensive turnaround in San Diego that has them on a roll and one win away from the AFC Championship game.  ’85 stalwart Leslie Frazier led the Overall 6thranked Vikings defense to a playoff berth.  Buddy Ryan’s son Rex has the Ravens defense looking as dominant as their Super Bowl season of 2000.  Don’t forget about Jeff Fisher, the longest tenured NFL head coach whose Titans hold the #1 seed in the AFC.  Even new 49ers Head Coach Mike Singletary exemplifies leadership and probably still bleeds Orange and Blue (as long as he keeps his pants up).  Stop me if you notice the Chicago connection that all of these coaches share.

Instead, we get Lovie and his “Trust me” that has led to a 16-16 record after the Super Bowl.

Jerry Angelo needs to fire Lovie, Babich and Turner and go get Bill Cowher.  If someone could inspire the team, the fans and all of Chicago, it is Cowher.  Pry him away from the studio and bring him to Chicago.  Can you picture the look on his face after Andre Johnson was wide open for a touchdown?  I can feel that jaw through the TV.


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Tags: 2008 Chicago Bears Bill Cowher Bob Babich Coaching Lovie Smith Mike Shanahan Mike Singletary Rex Ryan Ron Rivera Ron Turner

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