8:37 AM CST, December 26, 2012
If you have to ask what it will take to save Lovie Smith’s job, then haven’t you already answered the question?
And if you ask Smith what he believes he might need to change in order to keep that job, he gives you an answer that should seal his dismissal.
Word of the heat that continues to blister the Bears coach reached Arizona last week, and when the topic was broached during his conference call with Cardinals media, Smith displayed the defiance we’re used to.
“Hey, I coach the same way that I’ve coached every day that I’ve been the head coach here,’’ he said. “That’s not going to change, whether it was during that 7-1 start or the period we’re going through right now.’’
Actually, it has changed. Smith admitted he gave players a day off recently in an attempt to stop what is looking like a second straight late-season plummet out of the playoffs.
But that’s not the point. This is: While you can give Smith credit for believing in what he’s doing, it’s overshadowed by the fact that it hasn’t worked.
He hasn’t won a Super Bowl, and Smith certainly doesn’t appear to have his team headed there this season.
Depending on what happens in Detroit and Minnesota on Sunday, this could be the fifth year in the last six in which the Bears miss the playoffs.
Even if the Bears do sneak into the postseason, they have a pathetic offense and a game plan that requires the defense to score two touchdowns every week. Can someone please find me the Super Bowl champion who relied on that plan?
Waiting. Wait. Ing.
Smith has to win the Super Bowl to prove that his unwillingness to change is worth it. Winning the Super Bowl is the goal that Smith himself declared when he took the job nine years ago. Failure to do so adds to the overwhelming evidence that Smith’s ideas are not working, and if the coach won’t change, you must change the coach.
To recap: The coach said he hasn’t changed and doesn’t sound as if he plans to, even after repeated failure to achieve the ultimate goal.
Can the new Bears general manager connect the dots?
Defiant, arrogant or just full of it with statements such as “Devin Hester is a No. 1 receiver’’ -- describe Smith however you want, but what matters is the result. The result hasn’t been there, and this ought to be his last chance.
Either the coach changes his ways or the team changes the coach. It ought to be that simple, but with the Bears, you never know. Finances shouldn’t dictate the decision on Smith. Football should. But again, with the Bears, logic takes long vacations.
Smith is owed about $5.5 million for next season. Making Smith a lame-duck coach to get that one year out of him is stupid on several levels.
First, it plays to the cheap reputation of ownership, no matter how unfair that rep is recently, starting with the failed head coach’s salary.
Second, squeezing out every last dollar of work for Smith on his deal only retards implementing a Super Bowl plan, presuming the Bears want to win the Super Bowl instead of just settling for a game or two in January every five years.
Phil Emery’s every move ought to be aimed at propelling the franchise closer to winning a Super Bowl as quickly as possible. I think he knows that. He ought to know, as well, that this coach has declared his inflexibility. Smith himself said he won’t change. If so, then the results won’t change, especially in a league jury-rigged to demand offensive genius.
I don’t know what moves Emery will be allowed to make. Nobody knows what moves he’ll be allowed to make until he actually makes them, or tries to make them, starting with the head coach.
Or maybe I should say, ending the run of this coach.
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