Amidst all the controversy over “the bump heard ‘round the world,” I think people are really losing sight of the biggest problem in Chicago Bears football. Boomer suggested that if the Bears can’t win a Super Bowl, Jay Cutler is the person to blame. I’m not buying it. In my lifetime, I’ve seen Brad Johnson (2002), Trent Dilfer (2000), and Jim McMahon (1985) “win” Super Bowls. Yes, they had great defenses, but they also had something else that Cutler lacks. A competent head coach.
We have all experienced Lovie Smith’s ineptitude with challenge flags, but let me give you some numbers. Lovie has challenged 67 plays since joining the Bears in 2004, and 23 times the play was reversed (34.3 percent success rate). Bears opponents have challenged 71 plays since 2004 and had 31 plays reversed (43.6 percent success rate). To me, this means that any average coach can make better decisions than Lovie. And I’m not even going to get into his predilection for first/third quarter timeouts.
Overall, Lovie is the one to blame for the Bears lack of Super Bowl championships. Would I like him to show some more passion on the sidelines? Yes, but that isn’t the reason I think he stinks. The actions that show his inability to lead a team are his flip-flopping and convoluted head games.
When D.J. Moore gave his dissenting opinion about Cutler’s actions Thursday night in Green Bay, Lovie said, “I talk to our players, but I don’t tell them what to say, and don’t stop them from saying anything. If you have something to say, just make sure you put your name behind it. That’s the message.”
Then Lovie goes on to say, “But, of course, the message to our football team is that we’re a team. … There are things that you should keep within our group.”
Correct me if I am wrong, but there are conflicting messages there: “[I] don’t stop them from saying anything,” to “… There are things that you should keep within out group.” Then Moore said that Lovie “wasn’t happy at all,” about his comments about Cutler. Well, duh. It’s because Moore thought he could say anything, as long as he put his name behind it.
This type of confusing talk is the same thing that Lovie gives to the media and fans. Brian Urlacher didn’t have surgery. Matt Forte doesn’t have a high ankle sprain. Rex is our quarterback. Can we believe anything that Lovie says? Does he play these same games in the locker room?
I know all the players say they like Lovie as a head coach, but I don’t think leaders need to be liked. They need to be respected. I think Tom Coughlin is a good example of a man who’s perceived as mean and grumpy but is well-respected. In fact, Coughlin has the same winning percentage over his career as Lovie Smith. Coughlin is 143-115 (.554), while Lovie is 72-58 (.554).
What separates Coughlin from Lovie are things like taking the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars to the playoffs in their second thru fifth years of existence. Their quarterback was the “great” Mark Brunell. Recently, he has helped the train wreck that was Eli Manning win two Super Bowls. Who would have thought that five years ago? I think everyone needs to pull back a little and look at the big picture. If a company fails, you don’t blame the accounting department for not having enough money, you blame the executive management.