The Bears filled out the remainder of their coaching staff today, hiring Jon Hoke as Secondary Coach. “Who is coaching the linebackers ?” you might ask. Bob Babich, that’s who. Babich will return to his familiar role as linebackers coach and keep his duties as Defensive Coordinator, but Lovie Smith will take over calling the defensive signals on game day. As reported by Brad Biggs in his Inside the Bears blog on www.suntimes.com:
Smith will handle play-calling duties this coming season with Bob Babich remaining the defensive coordinator while returning to his roots as the team’s linebackers coach. The staff was filled out Tuesday morning with the addition of Jon Hoke as secondary coach.
“I have been involved a little bit,” Smith said this afternoon on a teleconference. “My involvement will be a lot more now. For some reason offensive coaches, there are quite a few offensive coaches that [call plays]. There are not a lot of defensive guys. I think this is what will help us get back to where we need to be.”
There’s a lot that one could read into from this seemingly innocuous announcement:
1. Lovie has placed the bulls-eye squarely on his back. If the defense is bad, there is no one else to blame but himself. This is the coaching equivalent of going “All In” in Texas Hold ‘Em.
2. Babich is and has been in over his head. Lovie saying “I think this is what will help us get back to where we need to be” is an indictment of BFF Bubba Babich and his lack of ability to handle in-game adjustments and run the defense when it counts.
3. Lovie may have been put on notice by Angelo that it is put up or shut up time. He figures if he’s going down, at least he’ll be at the wheel.
Whatever else you want to read from this, know this. At the conclusion of the 2009 season, there will be only Lovie Smith to blame. Hopefully Lovie’s not bluffing.