Given that Lovie is a lame duck once again, just as many had feared back a couple of years ago after “The Three Bears” press conference when they insisted on the need for sweeping change but also wanted consistency and they sacrificed Ron Turner to appease the football gods, I’m not surprised that he promoted Mike Tice to offensive coordinator.
The search for a new coordinator in 2010 turned into a joke. Each day a new prospective candidate turned the Bears down. No one wanted to sign up to ride shotgun on Lovie’s ride into the sunset. Fast forward to 2012. Have we seen this movie before?
Do you remember the old mantra that “defense wins championships” when a stout defense and methodical running game to eat up the clock were keys to victory? Like back in 1985 and throughout the late 80’s and into the early 90’s. Those days, my friends, are gone. The game is passing the wonks at Halas Hall by while they try to reinvent the T-formation.
Lovie Smith and Mike Tice share a phylosophy:
“Lovie and I share a similar mindset of what the Bears offense should look and feel like,” Tice said. “There will be a toughness about us. We are going to be a powerful run team and we’re going to be able to mix in explosive pass plays.
It’s the “powerful run team” that jumped off the screen when I read it. That’s Lovie’s “we get off the bus running the football” singed into my brain. Tice doesn’t do explosive passing. I just don’t buy it, but did you notice the passing records that fell this season? Three quarterbacks topped 5000 yards passing, including division rival Matthew Stafford. Surprisingly, MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers did not, but he did top 4600 yards. This league is now set up as a passing league. Between the rules about hitting the quarterback, pass interference calls and rules for “defenseless” receivers, the league is legislating defense out of the league and with it, so goes the running game.
Let’s take a step back to this whole “interviewing” process? The Bears interviewed exactly ONE candidate to fill this critical position. As I stated in the outset of the post, the last thing the Bears needed was another embarrassing OC search, so promoting Tice is the safe way to go. Could the Bears at least put up an ad on Craigslist, though? Is there any way that the Bears could dare bring in any outside perspective? Would it kill Lovie to have someone come in that might challenge him; that wasn’t a FOL – friend of Lovie? Here’s Lovie:
“I’m excited to have Mike move into our offensive coordinator role,” Smith said. “He has been a valuable member of our staff over the past two years and has an excellent track record in the NFL. He was very impressive in his job interview yesterday and shares the same vision I have for our offense moving forward. We want to be a strong running team with a big-play pass attack.
Why even bother calling it an interview? Don’t you bring in someone else to at least benchmark Tice and see what else is out there? Maybe during the interview process, you poach an idea from someone else?
Lovie doesn’t want anyone to challenge him. That’s why Ron Rivera got his walking papers. That’s why Lovie brought in Rod Marinelli and surrounds himself with “yes men”. The Bears offense has struggled during Lovie Smith’s tenure. They’ve finished ranked 32, 29, 15, 27, 26, 23, 30 and 24 in total offense under Lovie Smith. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the Super Bowl season was when they were ranked 15th. With even a passable offense, this team can succeed and play at a high level.
Lovie Smith and the Bears owed it to themselves and to us to do their due diligence and attempt to hire an offensive mind to take this team into the future. Instead, they chose to take the easy road and keep the job in house.