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Dec. 23, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA: Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former Chicago Bears Coach Lovie Smith Plays Favorites in Television Debut

Former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith turned to the dark side, becoming what he hated – a member of the media – when he made is ESPN debut as an analyst.  He couldn’t hep (that’s help in Lovie-speak) but play favorites when discussing a couple of his former players, Jay Cutler and Brian Urlacher.

Before we get into that, we got to hear from Lovie for the first time since Phil Emery dismissed him at the end of last season:

“It was tough,” Smith said. “But that is the NFL. You are disappointed. You mention 7-1, but it’s hard to win in the NFL. For us to finish 3-5 and finish up with a 10-6, it’s hard. But my nine years in Chicago were great. Met a lot of great people. My family loved it. It was just time for them to go in a different direction. I’m going to do the same.”

Lovie then talked about his former quarterback, Jay Cutler and whether he’s misunderstood:

“It’s hard to say whether he’s misunderstood or not,” Smith said. “I think, when you’re in that position, you get criticized a lot. Everything you do is watched, and that has been the case with Jay. There have been some incidents where he would probably like them not to happen that way, but that’s just a part of it. I know his teammates have his back and they are expecting big things from him this year.”

It’s not so much what Lovie said than what he didn’t say that is awfully telling.  As David Haugh points out, Lovie had a chance to finally put the Jay Cutler talk to rest from a coach who had a close relationship with the much maligned QB, choosing to speak in generic terms.  Lovie talked about Cutler the QB and his importance to the team:

“You have to have that quarterback in place, and Chicago has that in Jay Cutler,” Smith said. “He can do everything you’re looking for a special quarterback to do. Great arm, mobile guy in the pocket, and as a quarterback you want to get to your contract year like he has and play your best ball.”

On the other hand, Lovie didn’t speak in generalities when it comes to his middle linebacker, Brian Urlacher.

Smith said Urlacher will be difficult to replace.

“(You lose) so much,” Smith said. “You look at every organization, every football team, there is a face of the franchise, and there couldn’t be a better player to represent a franchise than Brian Urlacher on the field. During my nine years there he was our linebacker, of course, he did so much on the field, great guy … so it’ll be different not seeing No. 54 there. But with time things change and this is a different year.”

Reading between the lines, it almost seems like Lovie blames Cutler for his demise in Chicago while teacher’s pet Brian Urlacher earned all the praise.

The most important thing we took away from Lovie’s appearance on ESPN is that he is a lousy analyst because he doesn’t do much analyzing.  He’s boring on TV as he was on the sidelines and in his press conferences.  Hopefully he gets back to coaching someone other than the Bears some time soon.

What do you think?  Do you want to see Lovie on your TV every week or would you rather throw a shoe through your flatscreen?

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