Chicago Bears’ general manager Phil Emery certainly has wasted no time in deciding the fate of head coach Lovie Smith. Multiple reports have confirmed that Smith has been fired as the head coach of the Chicago Bears. Smith’s firing comes a day after it was determined that the Bears would miss the playoffs for fifth time in the past six seasons. There is no question that the Bears made the right decision in firing Smith. For the second straight season, the Bears collapsed and failed to make the playoffs. After the team missed the playoffs in 2011, Jerry Angelo was fired as the general manager of the Bears. When Emery was brought in to replace Angelo, the new Bears’ general manager was forced to retain Smith for the 2012 season. With the 2012 season over and the Bears once again missing the playoffs, Emery–with no restrictions–pulled the trigger on firing Smith.
There is no question that Smith was liked within the Bears’ locker room. On Sunday evening, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher; running back Matt Forte; and wide receiver Brandon Marshall all came to the defense of Smith as head coach of the Bears. But the NFL is a what have you done for me lately type of business. Lately, the Bears have been a team that has been filled with disappointment. Say what you will about Smith’s record as head coach of the Bears, but the fact remains the Bears have collapsed in each of their past two seasons and their track record in the playoffs under Smith–with the exception of the 2006 Super Bowl appearance–leaves a lot to be desired.
Another factor that likely led to Smith being fired was the ineptitude of the Bears’ offense. Smith was unquestionably a great defensive coach. The problem was that Smith was not the defensive coordinator for the Bears, he was the head coach. Meaning he needs to be held accountable for both the defense and the offense. Up until this point, Smith has not been held accountable for the failures of the team’s offensive under his regime. It was Smith who fired offensive coordinator Ron Turner; it was Smith who fired offensive coordinator Mike Martz; and it would have been unacceptable if Smith was allowed to fire current offensive coordinator Mike Tice. But make no mistake about it, Tice will not be the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2013. The same can likely be said for most of the current coordinators for the Bears as the new head coach likely will look to bring his own coordinators with him.
The same can be said for a significant percentage of the Bears’ roster. It is my opinion that the Bears will hire a young coordinator with an offensive mind as their next head coach. That individual will look for players that fit his style of offense and defense. A lot of the players on the Bears’ roster were perfect fits for the schemes that were implemented during Smith’s tenure as head coach, but those same players likely will not fit the new schemes implemented by the new head coach. A youth movement is coming for the Bears. It will begin with the hiring of their new head coach.